SFI works with landowners, local people and others to investigate, promote and create natural features designed to slow and store water in the landscape and to help reduce flood peaks.
The organiser, Matt, explained that the hedges would also help to link two areas of ancient woodland:
- The Woodland Trust's Views (Williams) Wood, between Manor Park Estate and Buxted Park.
- Hempstead Wood, the opposite side of the railway line to the Horse Rescue.
|The hedges will provide a Wildlife Corridor across the grazing.|
- The railway, which has plenty of vegetation on the linesides - including trees, primroses and ferns in the cutting near the new hedges
- The river Uck
- Hempstead Lane, whose shaggy hedges provide great habitats and at the feet of which I have found glow worms.
Hedging provides food in the form of berries and foliage for birds, small mammals and insects, and offers wind protection, which cuts down wind speed across the land, and helps prevent erosion. Hedgerows support invertebrates that control pests and pollinate crops. They also store carbon, help produce oxygen and capture harmful particulates.
|"My" bit of hedge.|
- wild rose.
We were using a "Slot Planting" method in which we used the shovel to prise open a slot. Then we inserted the bare roots, taking care to ensure that the roots are sitting naturally - not curling up, and then pushed the soil back. We added bamboo canes and plastic deer guards. The latter are a necessary precaution as a herd of Fallow Deer frequent the area. I saw deer slots on the way up and they have visited our garden on the nearby Manor Park estate.
|Donkeys with the Buxted Park Hotel beyond.|
Planting hedgerows directly benefits the horses too - a mixed native hedge can provide a good source of forage for horses, offering variety in their diet. Throughout the summer months, trees and hedges provide a welcome respite from the sun, offering shade and relief from flies, whilst during the winters months, hedging provides invaluable shelter for horses to protect themselves from wind and rain.
Hedges a good in bad weather too. I remember one time, when travelling home by train in lashing rain, horses and ponies were sheltering nose-first in the hedge.
So there are several good reasons for adding a hedge to the grazing fields - and planting this one was a very enjoyable experience.