An opportunity to start the year with positivity planting young trees
The passing of a year and the start of a new one touch most people in one way or another. Some feel hope, others make resolutions and a few feel trepidation. But, by taking a really positive step forwards, for both people and wildlife in and around Long Ashton, we hope one of the most ambitious hedge planting projects in the whole of North Somerset will tip the balance towards hope by creating a more resilient and exciting ecosystem for residents, visitors and wildlife.
Get involved with planting young hedgerows on a Long Ashton farm
To turn this ambition into reality, all that’s needed is lots of positive energy and help in planting the whips (young hedgerow plants). So, if you’ve got time on your hands during daylight hours from 19th February onwards, please get in touch with Jack Bowman, Wildlife and Woodland Expansion Officer at North Somerset Council for more information.
Contact Jack here: email@example.com
Feel free to get in touch with us if you have questions: LANCET2021@protonmail.com
Blending the old with the new
The location is Bridge Farm on Yanley Lane. The area already has a lovely mix of veteran trees and ancient hedge lines dating back to at least 1765. But there are some gaps that are just asking to be filled, particularly along an ancient track that runs east from Yanley Lane alongside a field that used to be called ‘Little Feathers’ found on the west side of the Cricket Club.
So, after fruitful discussions between Bridge Farm, North Somerset Council, the LANCE Trust and the Forest of Avon over the last few months, the latter has agreed to fund almost 2kms of species-rich hedging that will link up two parcels of ancient woodland.
In recent years, a small orchard has been planted close to Bridge Farmhouse in recognition of the many orchards that used be to a proud and distinctive feature of Long Ashton. A home has been found for both the Chicken Co-operative and Long Ashton Growers and now the additional hedge lines will provide invaluable extra habitat on agricultural land already well used by kestrels, buzzards, ravens, barn and tawny owls as well as butterflies, rare bat species and native mammals.
We all know being close to the natural world is a tonic for both mental and physical health and, in our parish, Ashton Court is particularly well known for its wildlife. However, as we know, Britain’s wildlife species keep on plummeting. Luckily, in the last fifteen years or so, people have been thrilled to watch wildlife habitats and species recover alongside local food production at Yewtree Farm, Bristol’s last working farm. More recently, others have enjoyed watching nature recovery projects unfold at Watercress Farm, which as far as the kestrel flies, isn’t far away. Now, Bridge Farm wants to provide a welcome stepping-stone between these hotspots and by involving volunteers at an early stage in the project, hopes to give residents the chance to get involved in improving the local environment.
You'll be able to catch up with your hedge for years to come
Bridge Farm has several well-used public rights of way so residents and visitors will be able to watch hedges emerge from planting thousands of whips. Within fifteen years or so, all being well, there will be hedges full of blossom in the spring and jewelled with hips and fruit in the autumn.
As well as the hedges planted on either side of the ancient track running east from Yanley Lane, another long section will run along the metal-fenced railway boundary high above Theynes Croft. The hedges will contain a heady mix of hawthorn, hazel, dogwood, field maple, guelder rose, rowan, yew, crab apple, honeysuckle, alder buckthorn, wayfaring tree and holly. All this will create a foundation for some of the richest, thickest, most bountiful hedges in the whole parish. Additionally, every 15 meters or so, a total of 50 oak and 30 field maple will be allowed to grow into standard trees sucking up carbon and creating shade for livestock and homes for wildlife.