NRN’s Hedge in Time Project is inspired by Freeland Farmer, Robert Crocker and aims, over time, to connect up our villages with hedgerow wildlife corridors.


The Hedge in Time Project of the Nature Recovery Network (NRN) was funded by Wild Oxfordshire and CPRE’s Hedgerow Heroes Project and Natural England to plant 1km of hedgerow and lay 400 metres of ancient hedgerow.

The NRN of course had warmed up for this mammoth task with their amazing lockdown performance of planting 100m of hedge in the Witney Road Playground.  This huge new undertaking, coordinated by the NRN,  involved not only Eynsham, but Appleton, Cumnor 4 High street ancient orchard, Cumnor Parish Council Fogwell Playing Fields , Freeland Primary School, Freeland Community,, South Leigh Church Farm. Standlake Communitiy Allotments, Standlake Ardmagha Cottage Meadow, and Stanton Harcourt Primary School.



Hedge-planting-5405Eynsham Playing FIelds.
Photo Catriona Bass


Eynsham hedged its bets by planting at multiple sites, including Eynsham Primary School, Peace Oak, the Playing Fields, Swinford Travellers and Long Mead.
We had a record turn-out of 70 hedgers of all ages for the Playing Fields, some of whom felt fit enough the following weekend to plant more hedges at the Primary School. Peace Oak planted their quota with their customary calm efficiency, and Long Mead’s Care Farming Team enjoyed adding their contribution.
We thank Robin Saunders and Evenlode DIY for providing the precisely calibrated ropes used to determine the spacing of the whips and Cllr. Ross Macken for providing the bales of hay used for mulch. Despite the dry April, most of the whips are showing signs of life and will already be supporting wildlife.


Freeland1 Free plantrng in Freeland.


Russel Fisher reports from Freeland:

“On a blissful Saturday, the sun attempting to peer over some rather ominous looking clouds, a band of 6 cubs and 8 adults armed with spades and flasks of tea set to work planting just over 20 metres of hedgerow along the verge adjacent to Freeland Primary school. A further 4 residents of Freeland were task with planting another 20 metres of hedgerow in Broadmarsh community woodland. Thanks to the enthusiasm and persistence of every member involved we were done in no time. The weather held out all morning and our efforts were rewarded with a deserving cup of tea or fruit juice, not forgetting an environmental badge on the way for some of our younger participants! 

In the community woodland several residents were pleased to see planting of native hedgerow species and even asked if we could extend the hedging onto their boundary. All in all, a very successful planting session.  

We hope to continue our planting efforts and start planting hedgerows in the playing field and along farmland in the next week. “ 



Standlake1Standing Room Only at Standlake.


Paula Gaffney reports from Standlake:

“New Hedge Planting Standlake Allotments 2022

Approximately 130m of new hedging was planted in February 2022 at Standlake allotments. The planting started on a cold and extremely windy Sunday morning in February by a team of enthusiastic allotment holders who managed to get most of the planting done before the driving rain hit the site with full force. 

This project was planned to bring a positive advantage to both the allotment holders and local wildlife. When it matures the new hedge will filter the prevailing wind and provide shelter for allotment holder’s crops whilst also providing year round shelter for beneficial mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects which predate on crop pests. 

The new hedge will also link and extend the local network of established hedges in the village providing a welcome corridor to increase the ease of movement, shelter and food for local wildlife. This project was facilitated by Standlake & Brighthampton Nature Recovery Network in collaboration with Eynsham Nature Recovery Network.”


Rachel Murphy HedgeFreshly Laid Hedge, South Leigh.
Photo Rachel Murphy.


Rachel Murphy reports from South Leigh:


“After attending the hedge-laying workshop at Long Mead in February, I was keen to get started on revitalising the hedges at home as part of NRN’s Hedge in Time Project. The project is inspired by Freeland Farmer, Robert Crocker, to create a hedgerow wildlife corridor connecting our villages, starting with Eynsham and South Leigh, along the Lymbrook from its source in South Leigh to where it joins the Wharf Stream on the tollbridge road in Eynsham. I was very happy to be part of this project and grateful to Natural England for providing funding and to Long Mead for coordinating the project to pay a small team of experienced hedge layers to work on approximately 350m of very tall, but narrow hawthorn hedge. 


This hawthorn has been allowed to grow up, but irregularly flailed to reduce its breadth. The resulting hedge lacks the density to support as much wildlife as a thicker one. The hedge-laying process removed a lot of vegetation, but will, in time result in a much thicker and healthier hedge line able to support more wildlife for longer. The South Leigh Forest Restoration Group have planted 5 trees along the line of the laid hedge and the final product is very attractive drawing many comments of admiration from local residents! I hope in time it proves as popular with the wildlife too.”