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!

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