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Hedge planting on Portway Farm

Posted: Thursday 31st March 2016 by Joe.P

View from Portway Farm

Jess Kalisiak reports on how Friends of Rowley Hills work together with local volunteers to install a boundary hedge line between Portway Farm and the expanse of the Rowley Hills.

The Wildlife Trust's nature reserve on Portway Hill harbours a diverse assemblage of grassland flowers and some of the most important butterfly species, including one of the few colonies of marbled white butterflies in Birmingham and the Black Country, which makes it a vital green stepping stone in the urban cityscape. Despite the dreary weather on a chilly March morning our spirits weren’t dampened as we planted the new hedgerow.

Portway Hill is part of the Awards for All project which provides funding to engage the local people and celebrate the glorious grassy hillsides through a range of conservation days and events. The Friends of Rowley Hills decided upon constructing a hedgerow in order to separate Portway Farm from the expanse of the Rowleys which schools and the wider community could help out with.

The project involved reinstalling a historic hedgeline which will create a boundary for grazing animals on Portway Farm. Mixed deciduous species were used; predominantly hawthorn, but blackthorn and hazel were also interspersed to form a double hedgerow which will provide species diversity to the area. A trench was dug and the grassy turf was placed at the bottom to rot and release nutrients to help the thorny species grow, the plants were then arranged in alternate combinations and covered in soil. The shrubs will remain low and bush out producing the perfect habitat for nesting birds in winter but it will also act as a migratory corridor for small mammals in the otherwise uniform pasture.

With one rainy day down and spring just around the corner we look forward to reporting back on the progress of the hedgerow.  

Jess Kalisiak

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