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The Sid Valley Hedgescape

  • by JW

The Sidmouth Arboretum conducts a hedge survey – and looks to “action points that need to be addressed if future generations are going to enjoy the same level of amenity provided by our wonderful hedgescape.”

Hedges are very important to the Devon landscape:

Looking after our hedgerows – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Last Friday’s report on Springwatch took us to Devon (at 47:25)

BBC iPlayer – Springwatch – 2020: Episode 9

And a lovely film of hedgerows from cameraman Josh Tarr:

Jarr Films – Josh Tarr

As Chris Packham said, we need to be managing our hedgerows better

– and he referred to a report saying why we should be letting them grow a bit more:

Hedgerows should not be trimmed for a decade to help Britain’s bats, University of Bristol study finds

The Sidmouth Arboretum plants lots of trees:

A programme of tree planting for 2020 from the Arboretum – Vision Group for Sidmouth

But it also does a lot of other work.

Here’s the latest on its survey of hedges in the Valley:

Hedges 2020 Interim Report-June 2020

– with an extensive preliminary report by Arboretum committee member Ed Dolphin:

Hedges 2020 An Interim Report, June 2020

In 2014 Sidmouth Arboretum undertook a survey of the valley’s trees, now they are following up that work with a study of the agricultural hedges.

The 2014 Survey* revealed that, apart from nearly half a million trees, there are over 500Km (300 miles) of hedges currently enclosing farmers’ fields in the Sid Valley, and they play an important role in the valley’s appearance and ecosystems.

Using a computerised geographical information system, Arboretum chairman Jon Ball made a random selection of 100 fields across the valley, and then selected one side of each field to be surveyed.

Thank you to the volunteers who have been out estimating the dimensions of the hedges, their state of maintenance, the presence of standard trees and the maximum size of those trees, the variety of woody species in the hedge, and the range of herbaceous plants associated with the hedges. In Devon, the term hedge often refers to a bank planted with shrubs and trees and many of the hedges in our survey fit that description, but some do not include the bank. If there is a bank, the height of the hedge is recorded as the height of the growth, that is what is above the bank.

Summary of Aims
The Hedge Survey has four main aims:
1) Establish the hedgerow species diversity
2) Establish the scale of standard trees in our hedgerows
3) Estimate the age of hedges
4) Establish the floral diversity in our hedgerows.

With more than half the sample now surveyed, this is an interim report on the findings. This report, being interim, concludes with a brief look ahead and a summary of the data. The final report will include a list of action points that need to be addressed if future generations are going to enjoy the same level of amenity provided by our wonderful hedgescape.

Sidmouth Arboretum News