Monday, 30 April 2007


(See Projects 10 & 10A on Trees for Thanet Projects Map)

In the spring of 2004, Trees for Thanet was asked if it could plant a 'memorial' in memory of Ivan Plewis, a farmer and keen gardener who died at the age of 75 in 2003. His daughter and widow had promised him that rather than flowers at his funeral. mourners would contribute to a growing memorial.

Trees for Thanet suggested that an 'avenue of limes' be planted in Woodchurch Road as it approached the trees around Woodchurch Farm and the recently planted Jubilee Hedge. Quex Park kindly agreed to this proposal and on Saturday 4th December 2004, Trees for Thanet was joined by Ivan's widow, Isobel and daughter Sarah Plewis-Martin to plant the 'avenue'.

30 broad leaved limes were planted at 5m intervals on the south side of the lane and a further 30 on the north side. the picture above shows the halfway stage. Each 60cm 'whip' was planted with tubex tree shelter and stake and a 1m square mulch sheet placed around it for weed suppression and moisture retention. The view above is towards Garlinge.

The north side of the lane being finished off with barley straw placed over the mulch sheet to retain warmth and promote root growth. the view is towards Woodchurch Farm.

The 'Ivan Plewis Memorial Limes' in April 2007 looking towards Garlinge. Despite two hot dry summers and drought conditions in 2006, there have been no casualties so far despite a tractor knocking out a tubex shelter and stake at the Jubilee Hedge end and a speeding driver running over a tree as his vehicle left the road on the sharp bend by the 3rd telegraph pole in the distance in the picture above!

Strimming of the verge and around the trees is creating a grass sward and by not ploughing up to the trees a small headland has been created. Alexanders, have however, invaded the near end and will need to be eradicated. If all goes well , in 30 years time it is hoped that the canopies of the limes will meet above the lane to provide a' living green cathedral' in the view shown above!

Ivan Plewis' favourite tree was the Laburnum and it was decided that in addition to the 'memorial avenue of limes' it would be nice to have a stand of 3 Laburnums planted beside the Shottendane Road/ Manston Road/ Margate Hill junction in his memory. These will, it is hoped, provide a riot of yellow blossom in May each year for passing motorists to enjoy. The picture above shows Isobel Plewis and daughter Sarah Plewis-Martin joining members of Trees for Thanet in planting one of the laburnums on the Acol side of the junction. The Isle of Thanet Gazette recorded the final planting.


(See Project 6 on Trees for Thanet Projects Map)

The bend in Woodchurch Road with the planting of Phase 2 of 'Environmental Project 2000' in full swing in January 2000.

After 5 summers of weeding, tubex removal and trimming and shaping this hedge was ready to hand over to Quex Park Estates to look after. In November 2004, Trees for Thanet formally handed the care of this hedge over to Farm Manager Alistair Walmesley-Cotham and The Isle of Thanet Gazette recorded the moment!

This is the same section of hedge in April 2007 . The hedge was cut (flailed) in January 2007 to give an A shape top which is a typical trimming pattern for wildlife hedgerows as opposed to stock proof hedges.


(See Project 9 on Trees for Thanet Project Map)

This project was to establish a hedge on the north side of the public bridleway running between Sparrow Castle Pumping Station on The Manston Road and Park Road. The hedge was planned to end at the southern boundary of Two Chimneys Caravan Park.

Planting began on Saturday 29th November 2003 and the last of 2000 plants was planted on Saturday 6th March. Plastic spiral guards and canes were used and this hedge has not been the happiest of Trees for Thanet's projects. Due to priorities elsewhere for weeding and maintenance the hedge was not hand weeded in the spring/ early summer of 2004 and was only weeded and strimmed in 2005. It has been quite clear that weed competition in dry summers restricts water to the hawthorns and they have grown more slowly as a result. The picture below shows the start of the hedgerow at Sparrow Castle in April 2007 after 3 summers' growth.
Shortly after planting, a gap had to be re-located to allow farm machinery access at the Sparrow castle end. A thief came along and thinned out 12 hawthorns in February 2004 and Crime Number GZ364-04 was given to the theft by Kent Police! During the summer of 2004, children 'playing' on the Bridleway whilst holidaying at Two Chimneys, thought it a good idea to rip out canes, plants and trees. To add insult to injury, farm machinery then rumbled over the hedge at Two Chimneys end where a gap had been deliberately filled by plants removed specifically to create a gap at the other end of the hedge! In November 2005 further damage was caused by ploughing too close to the hedge and back-row plants suffered. Spiral guards and canes were removed in February 2006.
Whilst this hedge has had its moments, it is turning out to be the best site for wild-life with an explosion in the short-tailed population along its length in the summers.

Friday, 27 April 2007


(See Project 3 on Projects map) The view south along Park Road in July 1996. Wheat is growing upto the verge on the left and barley right up to the verge on the right. In the distance are the trees around Woodchurch Farm and the grain storage barn has not been built yet.

The same view south along Park Road towards Woodchurch in April 2007. The Millenium Hedgerow starts on the left with a small leaved lime that has been hit twice by farm machinery, still growing! On the right is Two Chimneys Hedge (Project 8A) hiding the screening bund.

The Millenium Hedge (on the left) in late summer of 2002 at the point where a footpath goes left to The Shottendane Road and a Bridleway runs right to Sparrow Castle. The single row was planted in 1997.

The same view in Park Road in April 2007 with KCC signs fixed to the pole but a passing tractor has given the pole a new slant! If you look closely you will see a bluebell just below the hedge; it was not there in 2006!

In Park Road in late summer 2001 with this gap-filling section of The Millenium now 4 years old. Note the stubble from an arable crop right up to the road verge where The QEQM Hedgerow(Project 7) was to be planted in 2002.

The same section of The Millenium Hedgerow in April 2007 with the single row QEQM Hedge on the right with a 6m headland and permissive bridleway behind it.

Thursday, 26 April 2007


(Project 8 on Projects Map)

The start of the Jubilee Hedge (on the left) in Woodchurch Road as you approach Woodchurch Farm from Garlinge. The wild cherry and hawthorns in blossom in April 2007
Roger Gale MP and Sister Alice Montgomery OSU plant the final wild cherry to mark the end of planting the Jubilee Hedge in Woodchurch Road on 8th March 2003.
The same view up the slope in Woodchurch Road in April 2007. The wild cherry being shown planted by Roger Gale (see above) was stolen by a thief who came out one night and dug it up! The more mature hedge on the opposite side of Woodchurch Road was the second part of 'Environmental Project 2000' and was planted in 2000.
Students from Ellington Girls School joined Trees for Thanet to plant 250 hawthorns in January 2003. The picture below shows the same section in blossom in April 2007.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

SPARROW CASTLE 1996 - 2007

(Project 1 on Projects Map)

This was Sparrow Castle site on the Manston Road in 2001. Growth was very slow due to the nature of the 'hump' (old railway aggregate and chalk) and its exposure. Two Spruce trees were stolen but two Maritime Pines were donated as replacements

This is Sparrow Castle in April 2007. Shrubs and trees have got roots down into moisture and the Ash and Mountain Ash have started to shape up. As this picture shows, shaping pruning will soon be needed. 'Alexanders' have invaded the front of the site close to the road and will need to be exterminated!


(See Project 2 on the Projects Map)
Shottendane Copse on the corner of Park Road and Shottendane Road in April 1997. A rubbish tip with 'Alexanders' covering the whole copse floor and suppressing, by its winter growth, all other ground flora and preventing any tree regeneration.

Shottendane Copse in late April 2007.
Fenced, kept clear of rubbish and planted to add to natural regeneration of trees.The contrast could not be greater. A much richer ground flora, natural regeneration of trees underway and planting as necessary. Bluebells framed by young spring leaves of a naturally seeded oak!

The 'Alexanders' were stifling all other ground flora and now the contrast 10 years later with natural self seeding of trees underway and a richer ground flora present is marvellous.


(Project 8A on the projects map)

Two Chimneys Hedge in Park Road being planted in 2003 and how it looks in late April 2007.

The view is north to Shottendane Road with the Millenium Hedge (planted in 1998)on the right-hand side of the lane. The mild April has brought the Hawthorn into blossom and oil-seed rape into flower three weeks earlier than normal. The top of Two Chimney's screening bund was planted in January 2007 and a wildlife haven will develop between the two plantings!

A 'Savill' Lime can be seen behind the Millenium Hedge on the right.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007


The morning of Saturday 21st April 2007 was a busy one for Trees for Thanet Group. Meridian TV returned after 10 Years to see how the projects had grown and to interview 3 members who had been involved 10 years ago in the planting of the 'Millenium Hedgerow'

Roger Gale MP, was invited to plant a lovely dessert cherry to mark the end of the 10th Planting Season with 'old planters' joining the current team to watch. In addition, loyal and long term sponsors were invited to come along and celebrate and Mr & Mrs Horwood from 'Lemon Tree' in Ramsgate and Mr Anthony Curwen from Quex Park Estates Ltd also joined the Group.

Roger Gale MP does the honours!

(Because of the early spring and unseasonably warm and dry weather, the cherry was planted earlier in March and can now be seen 'planted' in full blossom!)

After the 'planting', Anthony Curwen very kindly invited Trees for Thanet Group and Sponsors to his house in Quex Park for much welcome refreshments at an informal reception to round off a busy morning.

Paul Fitzgerald and his camera-man Phil, arrived at 0930 and spent until 1045 taking shots and interviewing members, old and new. Because planting was long over and TV requires 'activity', the Group were asked to look busy and ended up pulling Alexanders out of the 'QEQM' Hedge in Park Road and removing spirals and canes from planting on the Manston Road.
Paul Fitzgerald and Phil record the action as 'QEQM' Hedge loses some un-welcome Alexanders.

Phil, the camera-man, moves in on hand-weeding and spiral guard removal of 1 year plants.

It is hoped to be able to put up the Meridain clip for access in due course but until then it is the 4th item on Meridian Southeast News of 21st April and can be looked at on For a fast link try:

Monday, 16 April 2007

Two Chimneys/ Savill Family Limes/Richborough (2003)

It was not realised at the start of the planting season of November 2002 - March 2003 that Trees for Thanet would finish planting 3,428 hedgerow shrubs and trees in one season!

(See Project 8A on Projects Map)

Work on the Jubilee Hedge was suspended on Sat 11 January 2003 for two weeks and Trees for Thanet returned to Park Road. Two Chimneys Caravan Park had leased, from Quex Park, a 20 acre field between its site and Park Road and during the summer of 2002 raised a screening bund around it. Two Chimneys very kindly agreed to Trees for Thanet planting the verge by the bund in Park Road in order to complete hedging opposite The Millenium Hedge along its length; this would mean Park Road being hedged from Woodchurch Farm to the Junction with Shottendane Road. Two Chimneys also generously sponsored the cost of planting.

To match the Millenium Hedge, tubex shelters were used for a hedge for the last time by Trees for Thanet and a single row of 475 hawthorns was planted. In addition, 5 wild cherries were planted in the Millenium Hedge footpath gap and at the ends of the Two Chimneys Hedge. The picture above shows the view towards Shottendane Road. In the background can be seen the trees of Shottendane Copse (Project 2) and on the right of the lane can be seen 'The Millenium Hedge' (Project 3) after 5 summers of growth. (Two Chimneys planted the wide top of the bund in January 2007 with a triple row of trees and shrubs with spiral guards, canes and black mulch sheet; in a few years time it is hoped that the static caravans will be screened from view by a thick shelter belt!) A wild cherry is safely planted and staked. (This tree , together with the hawthorns behind,was damaged in the summer of 2005 by children staying at Two Chimneys; it has since re-grown another stem below the snapped off original.). The Isle of Thanet gazette recorded the end of the project on Saturday 18th January with the Group's sponsors from Two Chimneys.


On Saturday 22March 2003, the Group planted 5 'standard' size Limes as 'pole' trees behind the 'Millenium Hedge' and 'QEQM Hedge on behalf of Kath Savill of Birchington. Kath has been the longest and most generous of the many individual sponsors of Trees for Thanet and each time a child is born within the family, a contribution to Trees for Thanet is made to sponsor a tree. These 5 limes have not flourished as the Group would have wished , although they are 'hanging on in there' still! Perhaps late planting and dry summers put too much stress on the larger trees; it is hoped mulch sheeting will give them a better chance to survive.


In the week leading up to Saturday 12th April 2003, Trees for Thanet received a cry for help from Quex Park Estates to help them plant hedgerows at Kingsend Farm at Richborough. They had experienced problems planting earlier and were now outside the normal planting season in what was turning out to be a hot dry spring! The ground had been prepared and very small plants wrapped in black 'mesh' guards; 1,018 of them! The Group had observed the high casualty rate the previous summer of similar sized plants, notch planted on The Manston Road in Birchington and were not optomistic!

After a briefing about 'slot' or 'notch' planting the young people set to with a will and all 1,018 were in the ground by mid-day. The technique involves forcing the spade into the ground to create the 'slot' and the young plant in its mesh guard is inserted into the 'slot' with a sideways wiping action to avoid root damage. Feet are then used to close the slot; the mesh guard has sufficient rigidity to support the small plant.The problem in dry conditions is that the slot does not close well and an air pocket allows the roots to dry out and the plant dies. Quex Park was not able to water them in and the results were as expected; a high failure rate!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The Jubilee Hedge ( Nov 2002 - Mar 2003)

(Project 8 on Projects Map)

Spiral guards being wrapped around plants and their support canes.

The winter of 2002/2003 saw a big change in the way Trees for Thanet planted! Tubex tree shelters with stakes were abandoned due to excessive cost and the amount of labour required to put them in and take them off only 2 years later. The other change was the decision to start planting as early in the 'planting season' as possible. It had been noticed that the earlier planted trees established better and that late plantings up to the end of March were more water stressed due to traditional low rainfall levels in Thanet in late February and March. Spiral guards with supporting canes were a cheaper option and enabled one person to plant by themself as opposed to having to plant with a partner.

As the summer saw the celebration of Her Majesty The Queen's Golden Jubilee, the hedgerow project was titled The Jubilee Hedge. Quex Park were the sponsors and the plan was to establish a double row hedge in Woodchurch Road from where the lane from Garlinge meets the tree-line around the stables at Woodchurch Farm to the bottom of the hill towards Reclamet. The new hedge would match the hedge Trees for Thanet had planted on the west side of the lane in 2000.

The picture above shows the digging team digging holes for the front row down the slope from Woodchurch Farm towards the sharp right hand Hackthorn Farm bend. The 'Environmental Project 2000' (Phase 2) hedge planted in 2000 can be seen on the west side of the lane after 3 summer's growth and with tubex removed.
Trees for Thanet were delighted to have the help of 9 students from Ellington Girls School who were carrying out Community Service for their ASDAN Award and in two afternoons in January 2003 they planted 250 whips opposite the tree-line at the stables at Woodchurch Farm. The picture above shows the spiral guards and support canes very clearly.

The picture above shows Trees for Thanet planters on a Saturday morning planting as individuals. It proved easy to support, with one hand, the whip,cane and spiral guard in the centre of the dug hole and use the other to scrape the soil, left by diggers immediately in front of the hole, into the hole and carefully place it around the roots. A gentle shake of the plant allowed soil to settle into any air pockets around the roots and the soil was firmed down around the stem using knuckles! A team in support had first to wrap spirals around the plants and supporting canes, allowing young shooting branches to protrude from the spiral guard and then get them to fast moving planters!

The Group found that more plants could be planted this way on Saturday mornings and as they became more adept, the planting rate went up dramatically with a total of 400 trees being planted in just one well attended session. On two Saturdays in January 2003, the Group diverted to another planting project ( Two Chimneys verge in Park Road) which is covered in a separate report.

By Saturday 8th March 2003, a total of 1925 hawthorns had been planted into the Jubilee Hedge and Roger Gale MP made his second visit to the Group to plant the last of 5 wild cherries put into the hedge. The Isle of Thanet Gazette recorded the event in the normal way!

This particular hedge has caused the Group major problems. Firstly, the summer of 2003 was hot and drought conditions were experienced. The casualty rate was about 3% - 5% and was low because of good planting and tedious sweaty work of hand weeding for its first two summers. A hedge planted by a contractor for Quex Park on the Manston Road at the same time as the Jubilee Hedge suffered 60% - 70% casualties in 2003 and has subsequently been replanted by, yes, Trees for Thanet!

In addition, a thief came and dug up two of the wild cherries, including the one Roger Gale is seen planting in the picture above!

However, the worst problem in this hedge has been the growth of 'Alexanders' throughout most of its length which has weakened growth in sections, by growing up inside the hedge. Constant cutting and strimming has been necessary but with a long tap root, this plant can only be eradicated by digging it up or treating it with chemical weed-killer; it is a sad fact that 'Alexanders' in this hedge will only be eradicated by spraying. A separate report on this most pernicious of weeds will be posted in due course.

Saturday, 14 April 2007


(Project 7 on the Projects Map)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 4th August 1900 - 30th March 2002

Trees for Thanet finished planting a hedgerow in Park Road on Saturday 16th March and two weeks later the Queen Mother died. It was decided to commemorate her life in a simple way by calling the hedge The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hedge.

In autumn of 2001, the Group removed 1,500 tubex shelters from earlier planting for re-use in January 2002. The photograph above shows the view in Park Road towards the grain storage shed at Woodchurch Farm. A filled gap section of the 'Millenium Hedge', planted in 1997, can be seen on the left of the lane and the edge of the field on the right was the site for the new hedge.

1075 hawthorns ( sponsored by Quex Park) were planted with 5 wild cherry trees from Saturday 19th January - Saturday 16th March 2002. Trees for Thanet was joined by 3 scouts from Garlinge Scouts and altogether 28 young people worked on the hedge. The picture above showing the view of Park Road to the junction with Shottendane Road gives a clear idea of the organisation of the planting: stakes spaced; diggers in the foreground; planters and staking in the background! The planting was started at the Bridle Way that runs from Park Road to the Manston Road because the field on the left beside the Shottendane Road was to be leased by Quex Park to Two Chimneys Caravan Park and a 'bund' or earth screening bank was made around the 20 acre field that summer.
The 'diggers' at work!

Pairs of planters at work. Those kneeling are supporting the 60 cm 'whips' and tubex shelter while earth is then shovelled carefully back into the hole around the roots.
The hedge was planted as a single row to match the earlier planting on the opposite side of the lane (the Millenium Hedgerow).
Miss R Quested, author of 'The Isle of Thanet Farming Community' and who knew Woodchurch Farm intimately, contacted the Group to say how delighted she was to see hedgerows being put back on both sides of the lane and remembered how it had been prior to World War II.
When the owners of the modern 'Woodchurch House', opposite the farm-yard saw the work going on, they approached the Group and asked if it could assist them with a hedge around their 'prospective tennis court'. On the basis that it would complement the new hedge, screen the site and met the Group's unofficial motto " Trees for Thanet will happily plant your money", an extra Saturday morning was spent putting 250 hawthorns in around their site and 1 x wild cherry(Project 7A on Projects Map). In addition, the Group planted a commemerative small leaved lime by the side of the Bridle Path sponsored by a family in remembrance of their grandmother.


The plan for early 2001 was to plant a single row hedgerow opposite the 'Millenium Hedge' in Park Road. Members had been doing maintenance work (weeding & clearing) in the Autumn of 2000 in preparation and then Foot & Mouth erupted. Whilst Thanet was fortunately not affected, Quex Park's land near Sandwich bordered an outbreak zone and because cattle were being grazed in Quex Park, all work had to cease for the planting season and until the 'all clear' was given. Most young members of the Group appreciated the enforced 'rest' and like all young people, enjoyed the Saturday mornings wrapped under a duvet as opposed to freezing in a NE wind blowing over a ploughed field !
Despite 'losing' a planting season, weeding and clearing was able to restart in the summer to prevent the previous plantings from becoming overgrown.

Friday, 13 April 2007

'Environmental Project - 2000' (Phase 2 -2000)

(Project 6 on Projects Map)

With the start of the new millenium, Trees for Thanet found themselves back in Woodchurch Road. Phase 2 of the 'Environmental Project - 2000' was to extend an old hedgerow from the corner by Hackthorne Farm entrance to the first house up the slope at Woodchurch Farm.

The plan was to put a double planted hedgerow in , leaving an access gap at the bottom of the slope for farm machinery.

The intense nature of production is illustrated in these pictures with cultivation right up to a small grass verge. This was about to change dramatically.
Work began on Saturday 22nd January 2000 and the two row hedge had been planted by Saturday 11th March. Trees for Thanet was joined again by volunteers from 1st Westgate Scouts.
Two volunteers from 1st Westgate Scouts plant the front row.

Careful planting with tubex on, takes two and one learning how to do it!

1375 hawthorns were planted each with a tubex tree shelter staked into the ground. The Group would typically divide into teams: the 'diggers' dug a square hole 10" by 10" to shovel depth; the 'prep' team marked out the spacing with stakes, placed plants into tubex shelters and carried them to the planters; the 'planters', working in pairs, carefully planted and the 'hammer' team banged home the shelter stakes and tightened up the ties to the stakes.
The picture shows the front row winding its way up the slope towards Woodchurch Farm.

On the first of April, Shaun Connell, as Chairman of Thanet's Economic Development Action Group was invited to mark the end of the two year ' Environmental Project 2000' by helping the group plant 3 wild cherry trees; one on the bend and one either side of the access gap. He was helped by our youngest volunteer that year! As usual The Isle of Thanet Gazette was there to record the moment.
The planting season also saw the Group re-fence Sparrow Castle (Site 1) and Shottendane Copse (Site 2) with the help of a grant via TDC from The European Community Chest. In addition to regular private support and Quex Park's ongoing support, a new sponsor, Lemon Tree of Ramsgate sponsored the Group for the first time and has done so since. Without such generous sponsorship, the hedges would not have been planted.

The picture, taken in August 2002, shows the view down Woodchurch Road from Woodchurch Farm towards the bend, after the hedge had 2 summers of growing!
A thief made the second theft the Group experienced from planted hedgerows. In February 2000, within 2 weeks of the first plants being put in, a person came and carefully removed from the bend, 16 hawthorns (at intervals) from the larger tubex shelters only. Over the following years further thefts have ocurred. If you know of anyone slowly planting a hawthorn hedge by stages please let Trees for Thanet know.

In 2004 a leaking irrigation valve released water slowly into the ground around one of the 'gap marking' wild cherries and waterlogged conditions killed the tree; normally the problem in Thanet is not enough water!