Arboretum team is force of nature in Lewes

Jubilee Park Lewes

Local volunteers have been applauded for their work to improve the ‘richness of the natural environment in Lewes’.

Audrey Jarvis is Chairperson of the Trees Committee of Friends of Lewes, (Lewes Urban Arboretum project), who are on a mission to make Lewes a ‘town in the trees’ by increasing the local tree canopy cover.

The team can be regularly found around the town planting trees and new hedgerows as part of their relentless drive to encourage greater biodiversity in Lewes and the wider district.

Ruth O’Keeffe, Cabinet Member for Tourism at Lewes District Council met with Audrey in Jubilee Gardens this week to see how she and her husband created a new hedgerow during lockdown.

Ruth said: “Audrey is definitely a force on behalf of nature. She is an unsung hero and we should all be very grateful for her tireless work, enthusiasm and commitment to improving the richness of the natural environment in Lewes.

“Jubilee Gardens is looking great, thanks in large part to Audrey and her team and all that they have done here.

“During lockdown when no one could meet up, Audrey and her husband Nick planted 193 whips over four days in rain, snow and hail and thanks to that herculean effort we now have a flourishing hedgerow that his providing a home and food source for wildlife.”

The hedge includes Hawthorn, Hornbeam, Field Maple, Spindle, Blackthorn, Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Pedunculate Oak, Dog Rose and Hazel. A working party of Trees Committee members weeds and prunes the hedge once a year. The whips were funded through a #Beelines grant from SDNPA.

Audrey said: “It was hard work planting the hedge but we thoroughly enjoyed doing it and I’m delighted with how it is now established and growing well.

“With the support of Chris Bibb, Lewes District Council’s Specialist Adviser for Parks and Open Spaces, we were also able to plant four new trees here after receiving an unexpected donation of Turkish Hazel trees. Importantly, they are disease resilient trees which are being widely used to replace Elms lost to Dutch Elm Disease. There is a fine mature example in the town outside Waterstone's Bookshop.

“Our greatest challenge is finding spaces where we are allowed to plant more trees or hedges, so we are very grateful for the support, guidance and shared commitment from Chris and Lewes District Council, in enabling us to plant on council owned land.”