VOLUNTEERS have flocked to Worsbrough Mill to plant ‘much-needed’ hedgerows at the country park to preserve the area’s vital habitats.

Wednesday saw the second volunteering session for the scheme, which has seen more than 200 volunteering hours dedicated to hedge laying – with more than 60 metres laid to date.

A spokesperson for Barnsley Council said: “Not only will the hedges protect and preserve the area’s vital habitats, which are key to biodiversity and carbon capture, but they will also look beautiful when they bloom in spring. Hedge laying was first recorded by Julius Caesar nearly 2,000 years ago.

“However, since the Second World War, hedgerows in England have been removed at a much faster rate than they have been planted, and the loss of hedgerows is linked to the decline of many plant and animal species.

“Hedges provide huge benefits for wildlife and the environment as a whole and are our environmental heroes. They provide food and shelter for many species, as well as acting as essential corridors along which wildlife can travel.

“Hedges also have the natural ability to capture pollution, reduce noise, and mitigate flooding. Recent research is also highlighting how important hedgerows are for carbon capture, as they can store carbon at twice the rate of woodland, and the soil beneath hedgerows stores on average 31 per cent more carbon than grassland.”