Hedge Watch I have been reading (and quoting from)….
Hedgerows by Anne Angus (1987) This is a year diary (like a Blog, but printed in a book) of her local hedgerow in Wales. It inspired me to start this discussion. Hedgerows in the countryside are, in effect, long woodland edges but without a wood behind them. They attract the species you would find at the margins of woods. As in a wood, the ground beneath a hedge is covered with dead and decaying leaves ('leaf litter'). This is protection and food for a huge variety of invertebrates, fungi and bacteria. Hedges also provide safe passageways for small, vulnerable creatures like voles and mice. The hedges in St Andrews Park may be only a substitute for woodland, but they probably give shelter and sources of food for a multitude of creatures, including insects, birds, small mammals and amphibians. They are a vital part of the urban landscape and we need to look after them because they are all we have. The recent Bird Walk (15.2.09) reported 17 birds of which those below are commonly associated with hedgerows. Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird Starling, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon While the greenfinch nests and feeds in the hedgerow, others may only feed or only nest there. Hopefully some of them will use the nestboxes in the park.
http://www.lingfieldreserves.org.uk/hedge_birds.htm Has anyone seen a hedgehog in the hedge? The hazel in the hedge by Effingham Road is in flower now. Simon posted some pictures. Next time you are passing, see if you can find it – and add your own observations about the hedges too if you like………..

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Comment by Simon Randolph on July 16, 2009 at 14:41
I think I meant hedge laying, not layering!
Comment by admin on July 6, 2009 at 20:22
Excellent news. I once did a hedge laying weekend (not sure if that is the same as hedge layering) with BTCV - great fun.
Comment by Simon Randolph on July 5, 2009 at 20:59
Meeting of Wildlife Group representatives with council officers and 'Continental Landscapes'
On July 2nd, Jo and I met up with Claire Adams our new park manager, Helen Hall the Nature Conservation officer and Paul, the manager of 'Continental Landscapes'. The meeting was to discuss the cutting regime for the hedge along Effingham Road below the pond which also runs alongside the area that will become the wild flower meadow. It was agreed that a completely new cutting regime will be carried out from now on. The hedge will be allowed to grow up to a height of approximately 12 feet and to grow outwards and therefore become more dense, on the park side. Instead of cutting it by hand 2 or 3 times a year ( which is disruptive for nesting birds, fatal for the young stages of many insects and almost completely removes any flowers and fruits) it will be cut just once a year in November/December by flail. This has to be good news for any wildlife that exploits the hedge for food and/or shelter.

It was also agreed that in about 2 years time when the hedge has become thicker and stronger, we should, by employing suitably experienced practitioners, be able to carry out hedge layering, a skill that has all but died out. It would be good if we could involve a local school when this is planned.
Comment by Simon Randolph on March 3, 2009 at 16:54
The Wildlife Group has agreed with the Parks Dept. that some of the small trees that make up the stretch of hedge below the pond along Effingham Road will be allowed to grow up a bit higher. The whole length of the hedge will also be allowed to grow more inwards, thickening it. At present, the rather draconian cutting regime has prevented many of the plants making up the hedge from having a chance to flower and subsequently form fruits. From now on therefore, at least some of the hedge trees will be able to flower and set seed more freely. All this has to be good news for invertebrates that rely on the hedge for food and shelter and for the birds that feed on both them and on the fruits and seeds produced by the hedge. The resulting denser and more varied hedge structure should in addition provide a wider choice of nesting sites for birds that make use of hedges for nesting.
Comment by Des Bowring on February 27, 2009 at 23:34
Re. Hedgehogs - the bad news is that there was a dead one near the hedge along Effingham Road last summer, but I did see an alive and kicking hedgehog a few years ago along the Sommerville Road side.

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