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Trees and Hedges

Hedge laying by farmers

Within the parish itself since 2000 many hedges have been replaced by the Browns with what is known as Saxon hedging, made up of a mixture of native shrubs such as blackthorn, hawthorn, guelder rose, field maple and spindle. On the western side of the parish hedges in Clements Piece, Rough Ground, Collets, Hangers and Burnhams have all been replanted. To the north, Green Pastures, Tin Shed and Drun Hill have all seen hedges renewed.To the east of the road through the village Brierley Furlong, Vicars Field, Lousy Mead, Carrot Hill and Barley Close have also seen part of their hedging replaced.

Whether Muir’s criticism of the method of species counting to determine the age of a hedge is valid or not, some of Ann Cole’s hedgerow count of 1996, which showed the difference in number of species, and by correlation the age of the hedges, is rendered invalid by the recent planting of Saxon hedging. On her map, the oldest stretch of hedge appears to be the southern edge of Hill Farm Cow Ground bordering Gurdons Ground, where the hedge has 8.6 different species in a thirty yard stretch. Similarly diverse is the hedge between Stretchfield and Headington parish, again with a count of eight. Neither of these has been replaced. Another old stretch of hedging in Lyme Hill has been replaced, however. Much of the other planting is of boundaries which Cole found impossible to date, suggesting that the renewal of hedging has greatly increased the variety of species though making it difficult to date the hedges other than by reference to the farmer.

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