Harborough Woodland Community Volunteers (HW)

South Leicestershire has a woodland coverage of 3-4% (Surrey’s coverage is 25%) and it is decreasing with Ash dieback. Harborough Woodland is a not for profit community group set up in February 2020. Its aim is to increase woodland cover by planting trees and hedgerows and to reduce the risk of flooding through natural flood management (NFM). NFM schemes use vast numbers of trees and hedges. The roots, soil and fungi of one metre of mature hedge is a live sponge that can hold and slowly release 3 to 5m3 or tonnes of potential flood water (hedgelink.org.uk)

Harborough Woodland community volunteers hedge planting in November 2023

Since February 2020 the group has:

  • Planted trees and hedgerows at 30 sites including schools, farms, private landowners, community reserves and pub gardens
  • Planted 34,000 trees, equivalent to about seven kms of hedgerows
  • Given 20 presentations to community and charity groups
  • Instigated 12 large area natural flood management schemes
  • Won three national environment awards, Coronation Champion, Leicestershire Award (Community Environment Project) and River Champion

Over 400 volunteers have taken part in the planting including individuals, families, school groups, Scout and Guide groups. 

The ‘Greener Schools Group’ set up through HW is supported by 30 schools, both primary and secondary, where over 600 trees were planted in December 2022 at no cost to the schools.

Events planned for 2023/24 include plantings at:

  • Shoulder of Mutton in Foxton
  • Welham Lane (two events)
  • Belton in Rutland
  • Welford
  • Great Bowden farm
  • Primary schools and academies including Meadowdale, Lubenham and Market Harborough CE Academy

Should anyone want to get involved as a volunteer with admin or any of the planting events further information can be found at Harborough Woodland website or contact us on: info@harboroughwoodland.com

Marco Roginski