Clipper volunteers put the 'tea' in biodiversity by joining in with the Great Big Dorset Hedge Project

Hedgerows are home to 80 per cent of woodland birds in the UK but have declined by more than a half since 1945.

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: May 31, 2023 | Updated: 1st June 2023

Volunteers from Dorset-based Fairtrade tea pioneer Clipper Teas joined the Great Big Dorset Hedge Project for a vital nature regeneration project.

As part of the Dorset Climate Action Network, the work involved surveying the health of the hedgerows with a view to growing a wildlife corridor to improve the natural habitat for mammals, birds and insect species.

A group of four volunteers took part in a three-hour walk across two to three kilometres of hedgerows to determine if they need improvements such as filling in gaps or planting new areas entirely.

It took place along the Jubilee Trail which runs close to Clipper’s tea factory in Beaminster.

Clipper volunteers take notes on their walk.

The Great Big Dorset Hedge Project’s mission is to bolster biodiversity by creating a healthier network of hedgerows in the region as well creating a better understanding of their importance across the community.

Clipper – one of four brands in the UK owned by Ecotone UK – says it is committed to supporting local biodiversity projects as part of its wider Food for Biodiversity company mission.

Employees are given the opportunity to undertake up to two days of volunteering activity each year to support local initiatives as part of their regular working hours.

In addition to the Great Big Dorset Hedge Project, another group of volunteers from Clipper have also been working closely with the National Trust South West to repair a broken fence at Downhouse Farm.

The fence was protecting a local hedgerow that was being destroyed by grazing sheep.

Clipper’s volunteer work this year has also involved lending a hand to the local Prout Bridge Project, a charity which supports youth work and clubs as well as wellbeing support.

Jean Rene-Grailhe, pictured left, Clipper Technical Manager and CSR Champion at Ecotone UK, said: “It’s been a great team bonding experience to get involved in such an important biodiversity initiative, safe in the knowledge that we’re helping the future of Britain’s hedgerows which are sadly in decline.

“Helping ongoing work in the local area is not only incredibly rewarding but in keeping with our company’s mission to look after the health of the planet.”

Ann Chambers, HR Director at Ecotone UK, added: “We offer our employees time out of the office so that they can take part in a volunteering scheme that aligns with our values as a company as well as their own.

“At Ecotone UK, everything we do is about protecting nature and boosting biodiversity to transform our current food system.

“Part of this involves encouraging our team to lead healthy lifestyles – and what better way to do this than by getting out in nature.”

Clipper is also set to sponsor the Wilding Weekend at Hooke Farm near Maiden Newton on June 17 and 18 where volunteers will serve hot drinks from the Clipper Teas van.

Dorset has been home to Clipper Teas since the company first began in 1984.

From humble beginnings, it is now one of the UK’s major tea brands and is available in more than 50 countries worldwide.

A founding Fairtrade brand, Clipper is committed to ethical, organic and sustainable tea production.

It is the largest global Fairtrade tea brand and was the world’s first to launch a fully biodegradable, unbleached and non-GM tea bag.

  • More can be found out about the Great Big Dorset Hedge Project here

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