Hedge and Tree Planting Back Go Back

Over the past years we have planted thousands of native hedging plants and hundreds of trees. The new hedges have many benefits. For wildlife they provide new habitats for a wide range of insects, birds and other wildlife. The species chosen are all native species and they provide berries, nuts & seeds as well as different leaf types. They provide food for caterpillars, butterflies and many other insects as well as nesting areas for birds. At ground level they support a wide range of wildlife including voles, hedgehogs, field & harvest mice and much more. They also help provide shelter and wind breaks for both livestock and campers.

 

The Chichester Conservation Volunteers helping plant hedges at Stubcroft.

One of our newest hedges beginning to flourish.


Above: The second conservation hedge we planted, dividing the camping site up. Left: The same hedge, two years later.

Hedging species planted include hawthorn, blackthorn (sloes), field maple, dogwood, buckthorn, dog rose (rosehips), guelder rose, hazel (hazelnuts), snowy mespilus, spindle, wayfarer, gorse & willow.

Trees planted include beech, oak, ash, birch, crab apple, alder, hornbeam, horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, lime, rowan, walnut & whitebeam. We have planted a wide variety so that if new diseases strike in the future, hopefully there will be other trees unaffected to maintain the landscape & biodiversity.

Over the past few years a recurrence of dutch elm disease has devastated English elm trees throughout the UK . In 2008 we became one of the first sites to plant some new disease resistant “Lutece” hybrid elms and European White Elms kindly sourced for us by the Butterfly Trust. We have also tried to conserve the few remaining elm regrowth suckers. It will be many years before we know how they fare but we hope this will be a small start to conserving a once great traditional English species.

We have also started “laying” some of the older hedges. This is probably the first hedgelaying done in the area for over a hundred years. The process of “hedgelaying” is a traditional country art going back centuries. It looks quite brutal in the first year as the mature hawthorns & other hedging species are firstly heavily trimmed and cut through at the base leaving a narrow tongue of wood. They are then bent over and “laid”. Finally stakes are driven through the hedge and the tops bound with hazel or willow “binders” to stop high winds blowing the hedges apart. Over the next few years the “laid” hedge produces new growth, especially from the cut bases which produces a much thicker, intertwined hedge capable of both sustaining a higher level of wildlife and producing an environmentally friendly stock proof barrier & shelter for the sheep & lambs.

Above: An greenfinch and Red Admiral butterfly, two of many species which can be found around Stubcroft's hedges and trees.

Below: Some older hedges at Stubcroft, completed in December and February are now growing well and providing excellent habitats for many species of birds, butterflies and small mammals. Below and left: Wildflowers planted in the hedges at Stubcroft.