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Nature Notes

Spring Hedgerow Walk

Saturday, 02 April 2022 14:30 – 16:30, Meet at Forncett Village Hall

On a beautiful Spring afternoon, only hours after the last of the hailstorms, some 20 people and a dog enjoyed an afternoon immersed in hedgerows, talking about the immense value of hedgerows to wildlife and the environment and considering how best to manage them. The first hedge we visited was a nice example of a healthy, mixed hedge; we guessed it at about 7 or 8 years old. The Healthy Hedgerows Survey, currently being carried out by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust as part of its Wilder Connections project, recommends cutting mature hedges only every two or three years, as most hedge species flower and fruit on second year wood. It’s also really important not to cut back to the same point every year, which causes a ‘knuckle’ to form at the top of the hedge, while frequent over-trimming  causes the lower stems to weaken and gradually die off, forming the characteristic ‘mushroom’ shape seen so often.

2022.04.02.Hedgewalk.Photo C SharpAdmiring the hedge on Dick Barnes land. Photo Carol Sharp

 Next, we walked out over the water meadows behind St Mary’s Church to look at a hedge recently planted by volunteers from the Forncett community along the footpath. We pooled the group’s knowledge and came up with a winning combination of expertise, luck and guesswork to identify each of the 12 species planted, from their buds or emerging leaves. Finally, we looked at the ancient hedge, forming the boundary of the river valley. No longer a hedge really, but a collection of trees, it nonetheless has a beauty and value of its own, providing food and a home for many birds, mammals and insects. We lingered in the last of the warm afternoon sun, reflecting on how lucky we are to live in this lovely piece of countryside.

Afterwards, tea and cakes at the village hall gave everyone a chance to check up on the progress of our village map, where we have outlined gardens and fields to map wildlife-friendly habitats which we hope to link up to the national B-Line Project.

More information about hedgerow management can be found on the website of the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, where you can download the Healthy Hedgerows App.

 

How we advertised the event:

We are holding our Spring Hedgerow Walk. We’ll be enjoying all the signs of spring, whilst looking at three very different hedges and talking about how to manage hedges to make them into wonderful habitats for wildlife. The leisurely walk will take about an hour and a half, leaving from Forncett Village Hall at 2.30pm. The walking is generally easy, but there are some marshy areas out on the water meadows, so you’ll need suitable footwear. Children are welcome, accompanied by an adult. It’s free! 

Afterwards come and enjoy refreshments in the Village Hall. If you’d rather not walk, or would like to shorten your walk, then feel free to come straight to the Village Hall for a cup of tea and a chat. 

You’ll be able to have a look at our giant Village Map and see how the village is getting on connecting up those pollen rich gardens and meadows to create bee-friendly corridors. 

Meet up with like-minded people! See you there! 

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