UKTC Archive

RE: Guidance on Hedge Translocation

Subject: RE: Guidance on Hedge Translocation
From: Dominic Scanlon
Date: Aug 03 2006 11:10:27
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Bill wrote:

<While I accept you're most probably right Dom, I've planted hedges with 7  
woody species in less than 10 metres......
If you're trying to apply Hooper's Law then be careful, I've frequently had

people tell me that a hedge must be old cos there are 5 or 6 species. Well  
Hooper said his Law wasn't safe to use north of south Derbyshire, (so
that's me 
out) and some species are so invasive(?) (I don't like 'invasive' but  can't

think of the right word) that they have to be ignored, Elm for one  IIRC. I 
think Hooper intended you to measure the whole length of the hedge,  count
species, then divide the species count by the number of 100metre  lengths in

the hedge. In a traffic jam once we (me and the crew) worked it out  for the
verge, a sort of hedgerow, based on what we could see growing and  what we 
could recall having seen, and it came out at 35 years old..... 
My point was there won't have been that much evolution in a hedge bank when

compared to a woodland edge, and we frequently see creatures and plants  
colonising areas quite rapidly after extensive change. Not that I'm saying
that  we 
don't also see mankind making a complete bollox of something without even  
realising we've got something out of which to make a bollox.>

Well I agree in general.  What's interesting about the Hedge Regs is that
you have a historical evaluation and a wildlife one - initially people
looked at these separately.  What you find is that the two work together.
In Devon the topography meant that we didn't have widescale hedge removal to
get the sort of field sizes you get in East Anglia - its too steep basically
AND the Enclosure Acts didn't relate to much of this area.  You can spot
areas that were part of the Acts or estate owners who did remove hedges as
there is such a stark difference between the types of landscape.  So many of
the field systems are very old.  The presence of the bank shows they are man
made but often the banks have woodland ground cover species - slow spreaders
like Dogs mercury etc etc.  All this said Devon hedges are especially
peculiar to Devon and the scope of the Regs disproportionately restricts
Devon farmers compared to anyone else.  Local archaeologists ignored hedges
for a long time but the Hegde Regs made many of them think again and now
they see them as an important resource.

Elm is the rogue - around exeter there are many hedges that are almost
purely elm (lots of dead ones) but that are still old - the elm has
dominated them.  As an aside I won an appeal as a TO to keep one as part of
a planning proposal due to its hisotric importance i.e. as an integral part
of a pre inclosure act field system.  The hedge was awful to look at -full
of dead elm and little else.  In hindsight it was a bit harsh.

Most hedge removal notices in South Hams, Teignbridge, West & East Devon
(95%) will get refused purely on the historical data alone.  I can't imagine
that anywhere else in the country would come close to that.  And in
agreement with what you said - occasionally you come across a young hedge
planted as part of road widendning in the 60's that really throws you - so
yes don't assume anything. 


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