St Katharine’s pupils plant dormice hedge corridor
Pupils at St Katharine’s Primary School, a forest school, are today, March 17, busy planting a field hedge to link Savernake Forest with the school’s own spinney. It is hoped that the endangered Hazel Dormice who live in the forest will then be able to find their way through the hedge to populate the spinney.
Hazel dormice live in overhanging trees and rarely come down to the ground. Without the help of the hedge, they would not find their way to the delights of the spinney which is an ideal habitat for the creatures.
Kevin Sandall, teacher at St Katharine’s, told Marlborough.news, “This conservation project arose after a visit to Ramsbury Estates where the children learned all about dormice from Farms Manager, Duncan Lee.
We have been working on the project since January. The children had to give Dragon’s Den styled presentations to Duncan to suggest how to solve the problems connected with planting the hedge. They had to consider how many hedge plants would be needed, what species would be best and what it would cost. The field is usually a cattle field so they had to consider how they would stop the cows eating the young hedge plants.
They wrote letters to local companies to gain sponsorship. Wessex Woodlands donated 1200 plants and A4 Hire in Hungerford provided the equipment needed for the planting. We are grateful for all the support we have received.”
Acers, Hawthorn, Holly, Elders and Dog Rose are the species chosen for the hedge. Kevin calculated that in the five hours that they had to complete the job six whips per minute would need to be planted.
Every pupil in the school will plant a tree and there were several parents present also to assist with the mammoth task.
Parent Margaret Ford said, “This is an amazing and wonderful project. It teaches the children a useful skill – how to grow life and care for the environment which is so important for our future and our planet’s future. Over the years my daughter will be able to watch the hedge grow.”
“The hedge really is a monument for the future,” commented Kevin. “The children will be able to come back in ten years’ time and see the results of their work today.”