Dating hedgerows

28-May-2015 00:58 by 5 Comments

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Theygave me great encouragement to carry on with our local Horndean Parish Hedgerow Survey.In 2002 Defra produced the Hedgerow Handbook - to provide a standard procedure for local surveys in the UK.

We would be glad to hear from anyone that would like to join with small local groups or help (or start) a parish survey in your own area. The aims and methodology have changed over the years and I have used at least six different survey forms but the overall aim is still to improve the protection and management of hedgerows in East Hampshire by raising awareness of the value for biodiversity and landscape quality.

The procedure was adopted by most survey groups after this date.

It gives good guidance and is comprehensive in covering most aspect of doing hedgerow surveys although a number of modifications have been found necessary according to local conditions and requirements.

(MRef: SU 735 130 now part of the Staunton Way) The hedge contains a high number of species and with other evidence would suggest over a thousand years old, possibly pre-Saxon.

There are many hedges throughout the local parishes that are thought to be of ancient origin.

David Rumble and other HWT staff for the help and support they gave. In February 2005 'defra' published a new Environmental Stewardship Scheme at three levels.

All levels give benefits for the good management of hedgerows, field boundaries and trees which gain 'points' towards the level of grants.

My first surveys were carried out with a local history group in 1975 studying ancient parish boundaries and the evolution of the landscape.

A main interest was in dating the hedgerows by counting the tree and shrub species in one or more 30 yard stretches and applying Dr Max Hooper's Rule that suggested that in any 30 yard stretch, each shrub species represented a 100 years.

Advice and help is given by HCC (HBic), HWT, FWAG, and defra and it is encouraging to know that many farmers are taking up the offers and applying. There are problems on a county-wide survey of quality control and processing data and the best way ahead now is for the project to continue at a local or parish level.

Parish Surveys will provide a valuable input to Village Design Statements, Local Conservation plans, local planning committees and landowners.

In Spring 1994 the Hampshire Hedgerow Project was launched and in the pilot phase three districts in Hampshire, Basingstoke, Fareham and East Hampshire.