Prickly Problem Becomes Princely Prize

On the 19th March the BVC Volunteers joined Matt, Stu and I in the car park at the junction of Queen’s Avenue and Prince’s Avenue, Aldershot to tackle an overgrown, long neglected hawthorn hedge that borders an MOD car park. Whilst the car park itself is not part of Wellesley Woodlands, the edge is and it was time to give it some love.

The volunteers started by removing the overshadowing laurel which was outcompeting the hawthorn, gradually killing it off and creating gaps. Unfortunately people have been using the gaps to flytip and litter through and by the end of the day the volunteers had filled two trailers full of litter and old MOD debris.

We tucked Stu away in one corner with Paul and Janet to tackle the larger laurel with a chainsaw whilst I stood guard at the car park entrance as they dropped through the hedge onto the tarmac.



Once the hedge was visible, Mike topped and sided the wayward growth to give it some shape. Just removing the laurel and tidying up the remaining hawthorn made a world of difference but we weren’t done yet!

Ranger Laura

On Thursday 21st March Laura, Nicci and I returned to the car park. This time I was in charge, leading my first volunteer task. Firstly, I would like to take a moment to thank the volunteers for the kindness they showed me on the day, which included welcome biscuits, even though my fellow rangers had asked them to challenge me with awkward questions!

Whilst Paul got stuck in to removing some well and truly buried metalwork that Vic and Ed had started on the Tuesday, the rest of the volunteers started digging the holes in preparation for planting the holly bushes as well as continuing the mass litter pick.

As the number of holes being dug racked up, Laura and I were waiting with baited breath for the arrival of the holly bushes that had previously been delayed. Then from the corner of my eye, I spotted Jenny coming to our rescue with a trailer loaded with 71 holly bushes. The volunteers soon got to work planting these, whilst Jenny jumped on the chainsaw to top the larger laurel stumps which had been cut down on the Tuesday.

Can you spot the new holly bushes in the picture below?

Once Paul had recovered all the metal work, he was joined by Janet and Sarah to create a dead hedge using the cut laurel and hawthorn to protect the area behind our neatened and newly created hedge.

Thanks again to all the volunteers that worked so hard and carefully on both days, especially when you can find ex-MOD debris like live bullets.

Assistant Ranger Matt

About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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