A LOCKDOWN initiative has seen volunteers keep fit while planting saplings in Brightlingsea.

Brightlingsea Nature Network helped people beat the lockdown blues by organising a 'walk and plant' scheme with saplings donated by the Woodland Trust.

The site for the planting is owned by local firm Eastern Waste Disposal and is popular with dog walkers as a footpath leading through to picturesque country walks.

To increase biodiversity Brightlingsea Town Council and The Nature Network are planting a hedge in Brightlingsea each Spring and Autumn.

Susie Jenkins, from the network, said “Nature came to all our rescue in the last lockdown and we just wanted to give something back.

"EWD have been very supportive of our hedge planting initiative.

"The only problem was that the saplings arrived on the same day we went into a second lockdown.”

Undeterred, the Nature Network made up packs of saplings for residents to collect from a local doorstep along with a map of the site and planting instructions written by the Woodland Trust.

The volunteers booked time slots to take their own spades and get planting the hedge.

In total 50 people volunteered and 400 trees were planted including hawthorn, blackthorn, wild cherry, hazel, goat willow, rowan and crab apple.

The trees were donated through The Woodland Trust’s free trees for schools and communities scheme.

James Carter, from EWD, said: "We hope the hedge will be a positive reminder of a time we might otherwise just want to forget."

Brightlingsea Nature Network will be planting another hedge through the Woodland Trust scheme in March.