Monday, 16 December 2019

Volunteers plant 300 trees to improve meadow land

Volunteers plant 300 trees to improve meadow land

MORE than 80 people helped to plant 300 tree saplings at a Benson beauty spot.

The volunteers, who included about 20 children, put in 10 native varieties at Warwick Spinney as part of a project led by the Benson Nature Group.

The meadow, which is off the Elm Bridge roundabout, already had some trees and shrubs scattered about and by adding more trees it should attract more wildlife.

The trees were donated by the Woodland Trust or paid for by waste management firm Grundon and the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment.

Edel McGurk, a member of the nature group, said: “Benson is thinking a lot about the sort of village it wants to be as it grows.

“That involves thinking about what makes a place great to live in, such as some really good green spaces to use. We want to make these places — and Benson has quite a few of them — really great for people and wildlife.

“The species we have chosen will benefit pollinators and will provide a better array of food and shelter.”

Volunteers also planted a “pollution screen” which will protect the area from noise and fumes from traffic on the A4074.

The land is owned by the Benson Community Association, which has raised funds for community groups since 1972 but is to be wound up.

The association would like the ownership to be transferred to the parish council but has been advised that it must be passed on to a charity.

Mrs McGurk said: “Under the Benson neighbourhood plan that the council and community has put in place, we want to make the most of the green spaces we have got, recognising we are going to get some more on the back of the development the village is accommodating.

“Although the association has owned Warwick Spinney on behalf of the community since 2000, the land has had very little active management since then.

“A tree planting activity caught the community’s attention and it went really well.

“People said it was a really great opportunity to participate and they felt it was something everybody could turn their hand to.”

Since Sunday’s planting session the group and Wallingford Green Gym have planted up gaps in the hedgerow around the site with more trees from the Woodland Trust and the meadow has been mown to make it better for wildflowers.

The group hopes to hold a similar event in the spring.

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