The Sapperton Wilder Project

About the project

Sapperton Wilder is a nature recovery project in the heart of the Cotswolds that is pursuing the long-term vision of reverting conventional arable fields to nature-based farming and creating areas of diverse habitat for wildlife.  The project aims to inform how we use marginally productive land more sustainably in the future, investigating how, on a scale accessible to most farmers, we can dramatically increase biodiversity and mitigate climate change, while still producing food and supporting rural communities.

Hedgerow Surveying Project

The Sapperton Wilder and University of Gloucestershire hedgerow surveying project aims to collect important data on Sapperton Wilder hedgerows, while also exploring the role of community science in supporting landscape scale, nature-based recovery projects.  The project aims to investigate different community science approaches, the quality of data and the impact of participation on people’s environmental behaviour and connection to their local area.

The hedgerow surveying project is run by the Countryside & Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire, in partnership with the Sapperton Wilder Project, who are developing a wider nature recovery project.

Through the hedgerow surveying project, we aim to attract a range of local community science participants to help measure the condition of local hedgerows, so the resulting data can be assessed for its contribution to land managers and advisers and provide useful baseline evidence on the health of the Sapperton Wilder hedgerows.  We are equally interested in the impact of being involved in community science on participants themselves. 

Local community scientists participating in this project will be helping to survey areas of hedgerow by visiting and recording species in specified areas, from May to October. There will be an opportunity to get involved in the project either on an individual basis, at times most suitable to the individual, or at community science events.  

Your participation in this project is voluntary and you are free to withdraw at any time, giving 30 days notice, (until such date as this will no longer be possible, due to publication of the study) without giving any reason.

The results of the field work will be discussed in a university thesis that will contribute to an MSc in Environmental Science by Research. After careful analysis of the data by the researchers, we would be happy to provide you with a copy of the findings at your request. All data collected as part of this project will remain anonymous. 

At the end of this project the data will be transferred to the Sapperton Wilder project as part of their longer-term development of community science based nature recovery.

Please note you do not require any experience or training to get involved in this project. 

Attending the Sapperton Wilder site to survey

Local participants will be asked to visit the Sapperton Wilder sites (during May – October) to survey particular sections of hedgerow.

Participants will be provided with maps and a hedgerow surveying table, to record their observations.

Hedgerow surveying method

Local participants will be allocated ‘sections’ (30 metre stretches) of hedgerow and asked to answer a number of questions in relation to the hedgerow section(s).  The questions will be set out in the hedgerow surveying table.

Participants will be asked to submit their completed hedgerow survey table within 2 days of visiting the site.


You may have already received an email from us, asking you to complete a questionnaire prior to starting hedgerow surveying.  If you have already completed the questionnaire, thank you.

If you are still to complete it, we would be grateful for your input.  The questionnaire explores the inclusion of local people as community scientists, firstly to measure the changes in the natural characteristics of hedgerows at Sapperton Wilder and secondly to assess the impact of participation in science on people’s relationship with the landscape.  The questionnaire aims to collect baseline information from participants on these factors to inform the wider study.

Please access the questionnaire here: Over the course of this project, we also hope to explore some of the issues raised in this questionnaire further, with individual interviews and informal discussions, to better understand people’s experiences.

Information Sheet for Participants

May – October 2023

You are being invited to take part in a research study that is being conducted by the Countryside & Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire. CCRI is the largest specialist rural research centre in the UK (  Before you decide to participate, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and then decide whether or not you wish to take part.

What is the purpose of this research?: The aim of the community science, hedgerow surveying project is to:

  • Collect baseline data so that the impact of changes in land management on biodiversity can be continually assessed against the baseline data.
  • Provide a framework through which the changes in characteristics of the Sapperton Wilder hedgerows can be measured, under different management conditions;
  • Assess the impact of participation in this activity on the participants relationship with the nature and the environment more widely.

Why am I being asked to participate?: You are being invited to participate because, as a local resident or stakeholder, we are keen to find out about your engagement with nature and the local area and your feelings towards the environment.  By involving you in our research, we will be able to gain a better understanding of the future role of community science in local nature recovery projects. 

Do I have to take part?: It is entirely your decision whether or not to participate. If you do decide to take part then you will be given this information sheet to read beforehand and keep.

What will happen if I don’t carry on with the study?: It is important to remember that even if you do decide to take part in this study you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving us a reason. However, please let us know within 30 days of surveying the hedgerows, in order for any data that has already been collected from you to be removed before publication of the study results. 

If you do decide to withdraw from the study we would appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about your experiences of participating in this project.  You are of course free to decline this opportunity if you wish.  

What is the procedure if I take part?: If you take part, you will be invited to join  hedgerow surveying group events (during May – October) or alternatively you will be offered the opportunity to visit the site at a time most suitable to you. 

Prior to your first hedgerow surveying session you will be emailed or sent a questionnaire and asked to complete and return it.  Following this, if you decide to attend the monthly events you will be emailed with details of the events.  If you decide to participate on an individual basis, you will be emailed all the details you will need, including maps and a recording table etc.

If you are happy to participate in interviews throughout the course of this project, you will be contacted (in person at the monthly events, via email or telephone) to arrange a time and location of your choice to carry out an interview with the researcher(s) from the CCRI.  The ‘interview’ will resemble a normal conversation, in which the researcher and you will talk about the practicalities of the hedgerow project and your experience of participating in the project.  The length of the interview and any meetings or workshops is likely to be around 30 minutes.  At no time will you be obliged to discuss anything you are not comfortable discussing nor to disclose anything that you don’t wish to. As such, any information you give us is completely under your control.

Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?: All information that is collected about you during the course of this study will be kept strictly confidential (shared only between the research team and the Sapperton Wilder project). Any data used in research outputs (such as academic papers, project reports etc.) will be anonymised and individuals will not be identifiable.

What will happen to the results of this study?: The overall project data will also be summarised for the general public to read on the CCRI website and we may also use aspects of the data to present our findings at seminars and conferences.  Following this, CCRI will hand over the data they collected to the Sapperton Wilder project (the data controller). This will include the information you shared in your interviews / surveys in its anonymised format. The CCRI research team will then delete any personal data and raw data from their systems. The CCRI research team will hold a copy of the anonymised data for use in future research outputs.  When handed over to Sapperton, the research data will be stored separately to your name and contact details.  Sapperton reserve the right to use the data collected for future research purposes, but you can opt out of this if you wish and by participating now, you’re not committing yourself to participating in any future research. By storing this data, Sapperton Wilder will be able to undertake research into the long-term development of hedgerows and stakeholder engagement within this environment.

Who is organising and funding the research?: The project is funded by the Evolution and Education Trust.

Who has reviewed this study for ethical clearance?: This study has been reviewed and granted clearance by the University of Gloucestershire’s Research Ethics Committee.  

What if I want to contact the researcher to ask about this study or my participation in it?: Rhian Brimble ( & Tamara White ( 01242 714122 who are both MSc students at the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), University of Gloucestershire.

What will be done with my data?: Your questionnaire and interview transcript will be analysed through a process which involves identifying themes that emerge across all the data. This will enable researchers to identify the range of perspectives and experiences of different participants.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?: The information you provide will contribute to valuable evidence that will inform, not only the long-term hedgerow and ecological health at Sapperton Wilder, but also the development of best practice in community science, landscape scale, nature based recovery projects.   What might go wrong?: As the research effectively constitutes a conversation with a researcher, either at Sapperton Wilder events or in a publicly accessible venue, no undue effects are anticipated. If you do find any elements of the interview challenging, you’re reminded that you can decline to answer specific questions at any point or withdraw from the process entirely. If following the research you wish to complain about any aspect of the way in which you have been approached or treated during the course of this study then you should contact Chris Short of CCRI via email at or telephone on 01242 714550. Alternatively, please contact NSS Ethics Lead Dr Dani Stephens-Lewis (

Informed Consent Form

In order to take part in this project, please access and complete the Informed Consent Form via this link: Online Informed Consent Form.

This online consent form confirms that you have read and understood the project information sheet (dated May – October 2023) for this study, and have had the opportunity to ask questions, which have been answered fully.

If you have further questions please contact the researchers:

Project Debrief Form

May – October 2023

Today, you’ve kindly taken part in a hedgerow surveying activity for this project. We really appreciate your time.  As explained, the researchers (based at the Countryside & Community Research Institute (CCRI) at the University of Gloucestershire) are undertaking a hedgerow surveying project at Sapperton Wilder in Gloucestershire.  The project will firstly measure the changes in characteristics of the hedgerows at Sapperton, and secondly assess the impact of participation in this activity on participants relationship with nature and the environment more widely. The CCRI will be working closely with the Sapperton Wilder project and other partners to complete this study. 

As should have been explained to you, you have up to 30 days from the date of surveying hedgerows at Sapperton to withdraw from the research and you don’t have to give a reason. To withdraw, please email Sapperton Wilder ( 

We hope you’ve not found this experience challenging, but if you did and you want to access some support, the following contacts might be helpful.

  • Mind (About Us – Mind) provide support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.  Amongst other things they provide the opportunity to talk to an understanding and sympathetic person.  They can be contacted by email or 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans (Talk to us on the Phone | Samaritans) offer a free helpline.  They can be contacted on 116 123

If you have any questions or want to request any further information, please email and or the CCRI on 01242 714122

Alternatively, please contact the University of Gloucestershire NSS Ethics Lead (Dr Dani Stephens-Lewis

Hedgerow surveying project: Feedback sheet

Firstly we would like to thank you for your support and contribution to this important local project.

Your participation in this project is voluntary and you are free to withdraw at any time (until such date as this will no longer be possible, due to publication of the study), without giving any reason.

Please contact Sapperton Wilder at if you no longer wish to be part of this project.

To better understand the participation of community science in nature recovery projects, we would be grateful to receive the feedback of all community scientists on your experiences of participating in the project.  If you have previously indicated that you are happy to be contacted by one of the researchers to share your experiences of the project, you will be contacted shortly.

Again, many thanks for your contribution to this important local project.

The Countryside Code

All those engaging with the ‘Sapperton Wilder’ project are requested to follow The Countryside Code at all times. This is a series of responsibilities for visitors to the countryside and those who manage the land. Full details of The Countryside Code can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Sapperton Wilder GPS & W3W locations:

  • Fox Central Block West End ///appoints.steeped.written (51.7254519, -2.0910367)
  • Badger Gate ///plums.wonderful.shape (51.7234195, -2.0751457)

Oak gate Central Block East
(51.7219617, -2.0728128)
Newt gate/Otter gate Green Lane Central Block Central

Hazard Matrix