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Managing hedgerows.

Managing hedgerows.

by Chris ~ 2 January, 2012 ~ 4 comments

The importance of hedgerows in the maintenance of biodiversity cannot be over-emphasised.   Hedgerows provide vital food, in the form of a variety of berries – sloes, haws, blackberries etc,  for small mammals and birds (redwings, blackbirds) and hedgerow flowers support pollinating insects – a  variety of bees and butterflies.

However, the ‘management’ of hedgerows or trimming / flailing of a hedgerow can make a significant difference to its productivity – that is, the number of flowers and fruits produced. Read more…

Bedstraws

Bedstraws

by Chris ~ 7 October, 2011 ~ 4 comments

The bedstraws are slender, sprawling herbs that have square stems (in cross-section) and they belong to the genus GALIUM.  This genus belongs to the family RUBIACEAE, which includes the Gardenias,  Coffea (for coffee) and Cinchona (bark yields quinine = Jesuits’ bark).

Galium odoratum (sweet woodruff) is a woodland bedstraw, which tends to form ‘a carpet’ and is a perennial.  Galium aparine ( aka goosegrass, kisses, cleavers, sticky bobs, sticky willy, sweethearts and robin run the hedge) is more common and is a ‘scrambler”; it is also an annual. Read more…

Wildlife surveys

Wildlife surveys

by Lewis ~ 7 May, 2011 ~ 3 comments

There is a considerable number of different surveys running throughout the country, some of which might hold a particular interest for you.  Many ‘natural history’ organisations / charities are dependent on the input from volunteers to monitor the status of plant and animal populations throughout the UK or specific local areas – especially in these financially difficult times. Read more…

Dog's mercury

Dog’s mercury

by Chris ~ 28 October, 2010 ~ 40 comments

Dog’s Mercury (Mecurialis perennis) is sometimes referred to as ‘dog’s cole’. It is a perennial and is found in woodlands (particularly beech and oak); and in shady places (like dense hedgerows); it is found widely throughout Britain (except Northern Scotland). Its distribution in Ireland is much more limited.

It can spread by means of its underground rhizomes (stem-like structures that penetrate through the soil) and when it finds suitable conditions,  it may form a carpet of plants. There is some evidence that high light intensities inhibit the growth of the rhizomes. The plant can be quite invasive – especially in shady places. Read more…

foot bridge before

Building bridges.

by Dick ~ 13 October, 2010 ~ 3 comments

If you are lucky enough to have a brook, stream or river flowing through your woodland, you will almost certainly want to cross it.  Where the water-course is narrow, the banks are low and the water is normally less than welly-deep, then you might be happy to just hop or wade across, particularly if the crossing point is in some out of the way spot. But if the crossing point is on a well used path then a bridge may be needed. Read more…

Autumn fruits

Autumn fruits

by Chris ~ 16 September, 2010 ~ comments welcome

Autumn is a time when the hedgerows and woodlands literally ‘bear fruit’ such as Blackberries, Elderberries, Haws (from Hawthorn), Rose hips, and Sloes (from the Blackthorn).    Read more…

How to Lay a Hedge

How to Lay a Hedge

by Angus ~ 25 September, 2008 ~ 111 comments

Hedges are an important part of our countryside, yet they are functional too.The use of hedges goes back hundreds of years (perhaps more) and is an effective way to keep in livestock and mark boundaries.  They also have very important benefits for wildlife as they are home to many nesting birds, small mammals and many insects.   Apart from being a habitat they also provide a corridor for the movement of animals across field systems and between woodland areas.  Landowners need to maintain them but sometimes they get out of control (the hedges rather than the land owners) and once they reach over 4 metres in height they start to encroach upon fields and become “gappy” at the base.  It is at this point that they need to be laid – ideally by an experienced hedge layer. Read more…

Hedges and Hedgerows

Hedges and Hedgerows

by Chris ~ 20 June, 2006 ~ 9 comments

A hedge becomes a hedgerow when it includes other features within it; such as trees or a wall, fence or gate. At some point (after the last Ice Age), most of the UK was covered with woodland of one form or another. Hedgerows can represent a link with woodlands that have been lost. Hedges often mark out woodland edges even when the woodlands have long since gone.  In some parts of the country, hedges and hedgerows are the only natural or non-crop habitat available to mammals, birds, insects and other animals. Read more…

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