Trees and hedges are a much-loved characteristic of the English countryside. A significant percentage of our project area is made up of farmland, with trees and hedgerows forming a vital component of the landscape. Since the 1950s there have been huge losses of hedgerows due to changes in farm machinery and crop production. Along with the loss of hedgerows, there has also been a decline in the number of mature and veteran landscape trees. Most of the existing landscape trees are in their mature life stages and without identifying replacement trees, will eventually also be lost.
Sherwood’s landscape of trees and hedges
Hedgerow surveys and training
Volunteers have now been trained to conduct tree and hedge surveys on behalf of landowners who are interested in doing more to protect the landscape. By using the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) survey and inputting our findings into their national database, this is helping other organisations to understand the current situation in Sherwood and how it compares to the rest of the country.
The Miner2Major Roving Volunteers have put their ‘healthy hedges’ training into practice and undertaken a hedge survey at Tippings Wood. This identified some opportunities for changing the management of the hedges to improve their wildlife value. Leading on from this, the group have undertook some hedge laying at the site, which means that they have now gone through the whole process of: Training , Surveying, Reporting and management options and Undertaking management (hedge laying).
Surveys have also been focussed mainly on one farm with over 100 hedges being surveyed. A number of hedge planting and management ‘change’ opportunities have been identified and will be discussed with the landowner.
With the help of Lesley Sharpe, the Farmed Environment Advisor, who has been advising local farmers for many years, we approached local landowners to offer advice, training and grant assistance for hedgerow improvements, to improve the health of trees and hedges on their land.
To increase our capacity to deliver hedge surveys and action plans (following the delayed start due to COVID-19) we are also working with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust (NWT) to undertake additional ‘hedge health’ surveys and produce a Hedge Action Plans which can be used to apply for Miner2Major Trees and Hedges grant funding, or other support mechanisms such as Countryside Stewardship Schemes.
Following on from previous hedgerow surveys, management reports and follow up visits we have awarded 2 grants for hedge planting projects:
- Project 1 – Rufford Forest Farm, was completed in February. 600 metres of new hedge was planted, along with over 300 metres of gapping-up and 59 hedgerow trees. The hedges have created new linkages between the internal farm hedge network and to adjacent woodland. Much of the planting was done using biomat to help control weed competition without the need for herbicides. The project was jointly funded with the Trees for Climate programme.
- Project 2 – Kings Clipstone, was scheduled for January but postponed due to staff ill health and has been deferred to the 2023/24 planting season.
- A third project utilised funding from Severn-Trent Water to complete the hedge planting works identified through the Trees & Hedgerows project.
- Going forward, we have received 1 completed application and 3 expressions of interest for hedge planting projects during the 2023/24 planting season.
We are working with local communities to help them to learn about their existing trees and hedgerows and encouraging and supporting them to care for and protect them.
We are also supporting local groups to plant new trees on publicly accessible land. Some of these trees will be named to commemorate a local hero, legend or story of interest or linked to an annual event.
If you are interested in getting involved with the trees and hedges project, then please contact us.
We will need both volunteers to carry out our surveys and community groups interested in planting and caring for a celebration tree.