NEW hedgerows are being planted on the Malvern Hills to protect wildlife and the natural landscape.

The Malvern Hills Trust is planting the hedges near Upper Colwall having successfully bid for £11,200 from Defra's new grants scheme.

The cash will be used to plant four new hedges and nine in-field trees as well as restoring an infilled pond.

These hedges will be planted on fields in the limestone lowlands adjacent to the Malvern Hills on land used as pasture or hay meadows.

Trust plans are for large hedges of many different native shrub species including spindle, rose, field-maple and hazel.

Once grown up, these hedges and trees will bring a range of benefits to many.

Livestock will benefit from hedges that halt the cold northerly winds and from more shade in these increasingly hot summers.

Wildlife will benefit from increased habitat and a landscape that is better connected – species like hazel dormouse and lesser horseshoe bat will feed and traverse along these ecological corridors.

The trust said residents will also benefit from a more attractive landscape, one that was once far more hedged that now.

At a wider level people will benefit from the increased amounts of CO2 being captured, helping against climate change, and from reduced rain run-off helping prevent flooding too.

Jonathan Bills, conservation manager, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in our application to improve connections within the landscape.

"Planting of the hedges will be done by both Trust staff and volunteers this winter and we look forward to seeing them come to life in spring."

Sash Warden, farming in protected landscapes officer, said: “It’s brilliant to see this, the first of our FiPL projects, taking shape in the Malvern Hills AONB.

"Supporting land managers with projects that benefit nature and people is exactly what this new grant programme is all about and we’re excited to see the results of this work on Malvern Hills Trust land."

This summer Trust staff applied to Defra’s new grant scheme called ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’ (FIPL). These grants are available to land managers in protected landscapes including the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).