School plants fruit hedges as part of a new initiative

NATURE PROJECT Planting fruit hedges at Fernhurst Junior School
NATURE PROJECT Planting fruit hedges at Fernhurst Junior School
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Portsmouth schoolchildren will have access to free, healthy, seasonal food on their doorstep through the planting of wild urban hedges.

The Tree Council has partnered with Fernhurst Junior School to plant a range of Wild Hedges for Urban Edges, which is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Fernhurst school’s parents, teachers and children plus staff from the Tree Council, together with Portsmouth and Southsea tree wardens, planted a fruit hedge around the school grounds so that in future the children will be able to collect fruit.

Julie Rimington, Fernhurst’s business manager, said: ‘We are delighted to benefit from these wild hedges and it will form an invaluable part of our outdoor learning environment.

‘A total of 180 children were able to plant a tree and they thoroughly enjoyed being able to shape this exciting new development for the school’.

Tree Council programme director Jon Stokes said: ‘We normally think of urban hedges as formal clipped green boxes, but if planted with fruiting trees and bushes and left to grow wild, with a minimum level of cutting, hedges can provide a fantastic source of local, free, healthy food – for both people and wildlife.’

This forms the first phase of this new initiative from the Tree Council, which aims to introduce town and city dwellers to the benefits of natural, wild hedges.

The project was launched last year to coincide with National Tree Week, which celebrated its 40th anniversary.

This hedge at Fernhurst Junior School is the first hedge in Portsmouth to be planted as part of the project.

The project has been managed on behalf of the school by Helen Bergin, PCC’s Landscape Architect.

Helen will also be working with other schools to expand the Tree Council’s involvement.

Pauline Powell from the Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens said: ‘It is so encouraging to see children being involved in their environment and providing a living resource for the future.’