Community Hedge Fund

As part of their year-long Close the Gap programme, The Tree Council’s Community Hedge Fund is now open for applications. They will be awarding grants of up to £2,500 for volunteer Tree Wardens and community groups to plant new hedgerows, hedgerow trees and to gap up existing hedgerows in rural and urban areas across England this winter.

A message from the DRST

Dear Members and Supporters,

Subject to the Government further lifting Covid restrictions on 21 Jun, DRST intend to re-start operations. We will hold a face to face Committee meeting on the 23rd of June to discuss operating protocols and future events with the aim to commence Saturday courses in July. We are looking forward to getting back to normal operations and hope to see you all soon.

National Hedgerow Week

Humble hedgerows to get the recognition they deserve with new National Hedgerow Week and ‘Hedgefund’ planting-grants from The Tree Council

Saturday 29th May- Sunday 6th June 

The inaugural National Hedgerow Week launches on 29th May 2021 to highlight the immense contribution these unsung heroes of the natural world make in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss and to raise awareness of the threats they face. The celebration of these wonderful habitats is part of a year-long Close the Gap project funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

From absorbing carbon to improving urban air quality, offering a home to small birds and mammals, marking out boundaries to preventing flooding and more, hedgerows are invaluable to this country. The Committee on Climate Change has advised the UK needs to plant an extra 200,000km (over 120,000 miles) of hedgerow if we are to meet our climate commitments.  Hedgerows are also a key habitat for endangered native species including the dormouse and barbastelle bat and their vibrant greenery make them a huge boost to our mental health.

National Hedgerow Week will put the spotlight firmly on the hawthorns, blackthorns, wild roses and brambles which make up hedgerows across the UK. Throughout the week there will be a range of exciting hedge-inspired activities with volunteers and the public and the UK’s first All Natural Hedgefunds will be launched. The Farming Hedgefund will distribute £500,000 in grants to landowners in England to help them fill hedgerow gaps and plant 30 miles of new hedges next planting season. A smaller Community Hedgefund is available for volunteer Tree Wardens and local groups to plant new community hedges.

Other activities will include:

  • HedgeTalks- a webinar series helping the public get the most out of their hedges
  • A playful ‘Talk To The Hedge’ photo competition
  • #talktothehedge – a social media campaign to share your love of hedges
  • A microsite packed full of helpful tips and growing information- 
  • And much more to be announced…

Sara Lom Tree Council CEO adds ‘Our hedges are not only of huge significance for the environment but also for their contribution to our cultural heritage and landscapes. We think it’s high time they got their turn in the limelight with this first hedgerow week. We’re hoping to unite farmers, landowners, gardeners and the general public in celebrating this humble yet brilliant habitat.’

For further information please contact Holly Chetan-Welsh at Tree Council on or 

NEW hedge video series

Moor Meadows has just produced five informative hedge videos!

Hedges abound in Devon and are an important habitat for wildlife supporting woodland birds, many mammals and butterflies. Our presenter is hedge expertTom Hynes from the Devon Hedge Group, whose aim is to further appreciation and understanding of Devon’s hedges, and to provide guidance on their management and conservation.
The practical videos are short and concise ‘how-to’ guides – each under 4 minutes long.
Whilst it is too late to work on hedges due to the bird breeding season starting, we hope they will inspire you to make a hedge plan for next winter. We plan to bring you more videos over the summer: the best tools for the job, how to create a hedge plan to create more biodiversity and one on Life in the Hedge. There will also be a talk on hedges this autumn.
We hope you enjoy these beautifully made films – please feel free to share them with anyone you think may find them of interest.
1 Devon hedges – Did you know that many Devon hedges date back to medieval times?
2 Laying a hedge – A step-by-step guide to laying a hedge. Practical tips to help you get it just right.
3 Curing a gap– Hedges often develop gaps. Hedge-laying expert Tom Hynes demonstrates how you can make your hedge thick & stock-proof once more
4 Crooking & trimming – Once you’ve laid your hedge, it’s time to crook and trim it
5 One year on – Tom Hynes visits a section of hedge that he laid last season to see how it has grown

Plant Health ‘Lunch & Learn’ Webinars – February 2021

From the Forestry Commission…

We are now able to share the topics for the Plant Health online sessions that will be running through February. Each session will start at 12pm and last at most 1h30m.

Each session will feature talks given by experts in the field, followed by a Q&A 

Wednesday 3rdHuman impacts of Plant Health with a reminder of how we can be the vector of transmission, what are doing to help prevent this including checking of imported material; and also when plant health impacts on human health (Oak Processionary Moth)

Wednesday 10thAsh Dieback. Hear about the course of the disease in Denmark who were about 10 years ahead of us in handling the disease, suggestions for how to manage woodland after the loss of Ash, and a reminder of the implications for grants and licenses 

Wednesday 17thLooming threats: an introduction or update on Swiss Needle Cast, Sweet Chestnut Blight and the old foe Phytophthora Ramorum

Wednesday 24thBeetles. Hear about Ips which is currently devastating spruce in Europe and a reminder about Dendroctinus and Rhizophagus which are already present in the SW

You can attend any session as a standalone, book for all four sessions, or as many as you are able to attend.

They will be FREE to attend but you will need to register here:

A message from the DRST

Please see below a statement from our Chairman:

“ Due to COVID 19 restrictions DRST is currently unable to offer safe and effective courses and as such we have cancelled them until the end of 2020. We need the COVID restrictions to change such that Social Distancing is reduced to less than 1m, the need to wash hands regularly is removed/reduced and to enable people to mix more such that close instruction and the sharing of tools can be achieved. We will continue to monitor the situation on a monthly basis and will re-start Saturday Courses as soon as it is safe to do so.”

England Tree Strategy

We are really pleased to let you know that the England Tree Strategy is now out for consultation. A national e-alert was sent out last week which you can read here. We would be grateful if you would share the Strategy with any contacts who may be interested in commenting. 

The England Tree Strategy is being developed in parallel with other key strategies that flow from the 25 Year Environment Plan. These include the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy and the forthcoming England Peat Strategy and Nature Strategy, as well the future Environmental Land Management Scheme which will operate on the basis of providing public payments for public goods.
For more information about the England Tree Strategy consultation and to submit your views please visit the consultation page.

There is a lot to read and consider in the consultation, so you may need to allow yourself a reasonable amount of time, but you can save your comments and come back to them later. The deadline for all comments is 11 September 2020

We would also like to draw your attention to another national e-alert which was issued last week that contains other interesting topics, including:  

·         new guidance for organisations who are considering their next steps after having declared a climate emergency

·         a new leaflet about trees and woodlands on farms

·         the first roles advertised for the new England Tree Planting Programme. If you have the skills and experience to shape this programme, follow the links in the e-alert for more information. 

With thanks, 

South West Area Team

Forestry Commission | South West England Region

Forestry Commission

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust open for applications

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) will be accepting new applications for funding between 14 July and 24 August 2020. Talented and aspiring candidates can apply for up to £18,000 to further their education through traditional college courses, vocational training, apprenticeships or one-to-one training with master craftsmen. For further details and to apply please visit for applications is 5pm, Monday 24 August.

QEST celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded over £4.5million to more than 550 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. QEST