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Eco-friendly hut and garden opens in Henfield

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A new eco-friendly garden has been created at Woods Mill nature reserve in Henfield to inspire visitors to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust garden is complete with an eco-hut, made possible thanks to a £10,000 grant from UK Power Networks. The project was built by the trust from scratch, with the help of dozens of volunteers from the electricity company’s offices in Crawley.

Barry Hatton, the company’s director of asset management, joined staff and volunteers from Sussex Wildlife Trust to open the new garden and eco-hut on July 28, with Emma House, one of the volunteers who worked on the project. Jenny Mark-Bell, editor of Sussex Life, cut the ribbon to declare the garden and eco-hut officially open.

Barry said: “Our employees thoroughly enjoyed working on this new garden and they should be proud of what they have created with the experts at Sussex Wildlife Trust. It is a living classroom, where people can pick up ideas to support the environment in their own homes and gardens. We hope people will enjoy visiting the garden for years to come.”

Pete Crawford, Head of People and Wildlife at Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “The eco-hut is a great educational resource and the wildlife garden integrates native species and familiar garden plants as a showcase of pollinator-friendly planting.”

An information board explains what is in the garden and simple ways to recreate it at home.

The timber eco-hut has a living roof, planted with drought-resistant plants to attract insects. Drainpipes connect the roof to water butts to show rainwater harvesting in action. A solar panel on the roof powers a variety of lightbulbs inside the hut, from old energy-hungry varieties to energy efficient types and ultra-efficient LED lightbulbs.

One side of the hut is insulated with different materials, such as sheep wool and recycled paper, with transparent peep holes to see the different types of insulation. The other side of the hut has no insulation, allowing visitors to compare temperatures on each side of the structure.

In the garden area there is a mini-meadow with wild flowers for bees, butterflies and hoverflies, log piles for mini-beasts, a hedge for birds and insects and a pond for amphibians. There is also a mini-vegetable plot to encourage people to grow their own and reduce food miles.

Three volunteers groups from UK Power Networks offices in Hazelwick Avenue, Three Bridges, have worked on the project over the last year. Volunteer, Emma House, said: “It was really nice working on this project. It was good to see everyone come together and work on something lasting. I look forward to seeing how the garden turned out.”

UK Power Networks has a partnership with the nine Wildlife Trusts across the areas it serves in the South East, London and East of England. All staff have two days’ paid leave each year, to volunteer or fundraise in the community, and many work on the Wildlife Trust’s projects.

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