Posted: 11.02.20 at 14:05 by Tim Lethaby
Somerset Wildlife Trust has successfully completed its year-long Making Space for Butterflies in Mendip project with Aggregate Industries (AI), which worked to improve butterfly habitat and food sources in the Cheddar area.
Thanks to a £22,000 grant from The Wildlife Trusts and AI’s Local Partnerships Fund, a range of grassland and woodland habitat restoration work, including woodland ride management, thinning, coppicing, hedgelaying, scrub clearance and fencing works, has been carried out at Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Cheddar Wood Nature Reserve.
Thinning woodland and coppicing ensures that some areas are opened up to allow more light into rides and glades.
This allows woodland plants and flowers to flourish, which are essential for supporting Mendip woodland butterflies and other invertebrates.
Somerset Wildlife Trust also ran several free hedgelaying training days for local landowners and volunteers as part of Making Space for Butterflies.
By learning this traditional skill, attendees can now help to rejuvenate hedgerows – an important habitat for butterflies and other invertebrates.
Lila Morris, Mendip conservation officer, said: “Somerset Wildlife Trust would like to thank all of the butterfly specialists, contractors and quarry staff who have helped to restore butterfly habitats across Mendip this past year and make this project a soaring success, as well as our fantastic hedgelaying and coppicing volunteers, who all got really involved.
"Many participants said they enjoyed the hedgelaying work and found it rewarding to do something beneficial for local wildlife, so we hope that they continue to use their newfound hedgelaying skills to help improve hedges in their local area.
"If you’re interested in learning this traditional skill, we hope to provide more chances to put billhooks to use later this year.”