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Thu, 26 May



Great Big Dorset Hedge

This county-wide campaign for hedgerows has developed a strategy for working with walkers, tree planting groups, town and parish councils and more. Lots of ways to join in. Find out more at this online meeting.

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Great Big Dorset Hedge
Great Big Dorset Hedge

Time & Location

26 May 2022, 19:30


About the Event

The text below is copied from the invitation received by Planet Shaftesbury. If you would like to see the accompanying maps please email

Here is the link for the meeting.

Julie Leah  is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: Great Big Dorset Hedge Time: May 26, 2022 07:30 PM London Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 832 6275 2080 Passcode: 422224

(This draft strategy is to be discussed, modified and verified at this meeting)



The key aim of the Great Big Dorset hedge is to support and encourage the planting of hedging throughout Dorset and its boundaries. The project will promote:

· The benefits of hedgerows as wildlife refuges and corridors linking other habitats such woodlands, rivers and gardens.

· The vital importance of supporting wildlife and biodiversity

· The benefits from environmental services provided by hedging such as flood / run-off reduction, soil retention and carbon sequestration.

This will be achieved by:

· Liaison with existing volunteer groups

· Helping create new volunteer groups and hedging projects.

· Liaise with the general public, landowners such as farmers and town and parish councils to encourage hedge planting projects.

· Investigate funding opportunities.

· Liaison with larger groups such as The National Trust, CPRE, Dorset Wildlife Trust, FWAG, AONB.


A route for the Great Big Dorset Hedge will be defined. This will be based on mapping studies, as described below, and possibly incorporating traditional pathways such as The Hardy Way.

The following suggestion since the meeting of the 27thfrom Richard Bradford seems very feasible:

Looking at the recreational paths that cross Dorset, the Jubilee Trail might tick many of the boxes as a focal route (or at least a starting point) for the GBD Hedge - see sketch of the route in photo 1 attached.

If you add several of the recreational footpaths that follow Dorset's rivers eg. the Brit Valley Trail, the Char Valley Trail, the Frome Valley Trail and the Stour Way, then you can get some north-south routes in as well - see sketch in photo 2 attached. Other trails such as the Cerne Valley Trail, the new Piddle Path and the Purbeck Way could act as similar focal routes.

As the route of the Jubilee Trail is devised and backed by Dorset Ramblers, it is possible that a new audience (eg. of walkers) may be interested in getting actively involved in the GBD Hedge initiative.

Another plus is that most of these recreational paths are on the OS maps so they can be readily identified and followed by those familiar with reading such maps.

The Dorset Explorer system allows one to overlay the route of the Jubilee Trail on fairly recent aerial photographs. This might enable interested parties to begin assessing the quality of the hedges along the Jubilee Trail / GBD Hedge route where it runs through their patch.

The online map archives in the National Library of Scotland likewise allows interested parties to overlay early OS maps on contemporary satellite images. This might again allow interested parties to make some preliminary assessment of the condition of the hedges along, or in the vicinity of, the Jubilee Trail and to identify any gaps in the hedge network that might be usefully filled through the GBD Hedge initiative.

Just a thought, but a possible route along these lines might help the GBD Hedge initiative catch the attention of a wider audience and could prove a useful starting point for any approach to the local tree planting groups (the 'stars' on sketches 1 & 2). And 2022 is a Jubilee year so the timing might be good..!

See attached maps for visuals

The aim will then be to invite / encourage and enable all landowners (farmers, private gardens, Town and Parish councils etc) along the route to participate in the project. All new / replanted / newly-laid hedging will be added to the map to create a distinct Great Big Dorset Hedge.

A visual image was proposed at the meeting of the 27th April to help create public engagement in the project. Popular visual images are a comet or a river with branching tributaries (also see maps attached). Both options enable us to both embrace the idea of a hedgerow connecting habitats across the county while also capturing those efforts outside this linear construction by including all hedging projects across Dorset whether they follow the main route or not.



To run alongside the suggestions about following the Jubilee Trail and other existing footpaths:

Using a combination of mapping resources listed below a map of existing hedging and potential hedging will be created. This will:

a. create a baseline

b. indicate a route for the GBD hedge.

Mapping resources


LifeLines Project

This maps areas where land at any scale is managed without pesticides. Landowners notify the project and the areas are then mapped and shown in bright green on the map. This mapping system and website is designed and run by John Blanchard who has offered to be involved in the GBD hedge project.

Dorset Explorer

This has potential for use as one of its layers highlights the ‘existing ecological networks’ and another the ‘higher potential ecological networks’. This indicates where hedging could go to link habitats by creating a corridor to potentially maximise support for the existing areas of biodiversity. However, Dorset Explorer, at present, does not have a recording function so can only be used to help decide where to plant not produce a new GBD hedge map.

We don’t want to assume there isn’t biodiversity in other areas or exclude any potential projects, especially as urban/ semi-urban areas such as villages / towns may well have under recorded high levels of biodiversity.

Historical mapping

Reference to historical mapping will show old routes of hedging which could guide new (restorative) planting as they were in place for good reason.

· The National Trust is using old maps to analyse current hedging condition.

· Dorset Explorer also has a layer to show historic hedging.

Magic Maps (DEFRA)

This is a good method for mapping and has layering like Dorset Explorer so you can highlight any aspect of interest.


QGIS has a database collection. Using this system everything can be recorded in one place. The aim would be to enable participants to let us know the details of their project such as grid references, details of planting, landowner details etc. This data will be collated and can then be added to the map.


The plan is to contact all landowners and local planting groups along the GBD hedge route. This will be done as follows:

· Make contact with local volunteer groups through a carefully worded document to engage their support and offer to map their efforts; discovering details of their past activity and future plans.

· Make contact with landowners including farmers, Town and Parish Councils and garden owners as appropriate to encourage hedge planting projects and help enable access to funding grants, help form volunteer teams or create links to existing volunteer groups.


Once the above elements are in place, contact will be made with other relevant organisations such as AONB, Dorset Wildlife Trust, National Trust, CPRE, FWAG.

It may be that some contact with other organisations will be necessary to execute  1, 2 and 3 but widespread public engagement will only come when we are ready.

DorsetCAN Member Involvement / Additional Expertise

Members present at the last meeting:

Chris Harwood, Linda Williams (CPRE), Richard Bradford, Sandra Reeve, Colin Tracy, Judy (Wimborne), Sheila Hawkins, Andrew Carey, Helen Sumbler, Dana Assinder, Jenny Morisetti, Alison (Chardstock), Sally Birley, Tracey Cossey, Julie Leah, Ian Duckworth, Russell Woodham (hedgelayer)

Offers to work on the above strategy are set out below. Other members would be welcome to join those ‘teams’ as their interests and skills would suggest.

1. Mapping and forming a database

Ian, John, Sheila, Dana, Andrew, Sarah Mackinnon

2. Forming links with local volunteer groups and community liaison

Julie, Tracee, Helen,

3. Creating the GBDH vision: Line, river, comet ? : to be the visual expression of the GBDH.

Dana, Sandra, Julie

4. Forming links with landowners, famers, parish councils and funding / grant sources

Colin, Jenny, Linda

5. Forming links with larger groups such as AONB, Dorset Wildlife Trust, National Trust, CPRE, etc

Julie, Linda

Additional Expertise we can call on:

Russel Woodham is an expert hedge layer who is supportive of the project and would like to promote hedge laying.

Richard Bradford is extremely informed on the various groups involved in tree and hedge planting across Dorset and is involved in setting up tree nurseries and his own tree planting website.

Linda Williams from CPRE is very supportive of the project which should create strong links with the CPRE ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ project.

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