Why Yorkshire gin producer Sloemotion has been gifted a berry hedgerow by Highways England

Sloemotion gin producers have been working with Highways England to find new life for cut down hedgerow.
Sloemotion gin producers have been working with Highways England to find new life for cut down hedgerow.

Yorkshire gin makers were given a berry boost after being donated a hedgerow.

Sloemotion, a North Yorkshire gin and sloe gin producer, was given the hedge after it was cut down during a £2.8m road scheme at the A64 Barton Hill junction near York.

As part of the scheme, which finished on Friday, sections of hedgerow, trees and stone from an old water culvert had to be removed.

And Highways England and its contractor A-One+ are working with Sloemotion owners Jonathan and Julian Curtoys to give the items a new lease of life.

Project manager Russell Mclean, of Highways England, said: “We saved as much of the hedgerow as possible but sections of the hedge had to be removed. The sloe berries used to produce the gin grow on hedgerows, so it seemed like the perfect solution to donate the hedge to this local sloe gin producing firm.

“We were able to reduce the amount hedgerow we needed to remove by altering some of the scheme’s drainage and this work will also help to prevent flooding in the area.

"Some logs from the trees were also donated to Castle Howard stately home to be used as chippings in the ground.”

Cabinetmaker and artist Mark Bennett, of the Woodlark in Malton, was also brought on board. He will take part of an Oak tree which was removed from the site and transform it into a bar for Sloemotion. The remainder of the tree will be used to create bat and bird boxes, which will be placed near to the A64.

Mr Bennett will also use some of the removed hedgerows to create displays for the gin company’s products and hand cut stone from the culvert will be used to adorn the company’s new buildings near Barton-le-Willows.

Work at the road junction has been carried out over seven months to improve safety and visibility.

Mr Mclean said: "Our work to improve safety at the junction will benefit over 9,000 drivers a day. We have converted the crossroads to a staggered junction by realigning Mains Lane, extended the culvert to allow the carriageway to be widened, constructed 200m of new road and realigned 600m of the A64. We have also relocated a bus stop, an emergency telephone and a pedestrian crossing.

“While we were doing this we upgraded and extended an otter fence to prevent them coming onto the A64. And we have reinstalled an old milepost and will be replacing a historic road sign that has been refurbished.”

Jonathan Curtoys, managing director of Sloemotion, added: "The changes will certainly have a positive benefit for drivers but then to also donating the hedgerow, the stones and timber to local businesses it feels like something is being given back to the community."

Highways England said replacement hedgerows will be planted later this year.