Saturday, 7 January 2012

Signs of Spring - bluebells

This week I noticed bluebell leaves pushing up through the leaf litter under the hedge which runs between the old tree nursery and the sloping Cowshed Field.  This ancient hedge, probably 600-900 years old, may well be a remnant of ancient woodland.  It contains Dog's Mercury (photo below) as well as Bluebells, which are both ancient woodland indicators.  It may be that when the fields were created, a row of trees and shrubs was left as a hedge, rather than being planted.  This is known as a ghost hedge - the ghost of ancient forests.  Consequently we have to decide whether to conserve it as a hedge or allow it to become  part of the woodland.  As a trial next winter we propose laying the top, eastern end of the hedge to see how this impacts on wildlife as well as the health of the trees and shrubs.  Any offers of help would be welcomed.

Dog's Mercury (Mercurialis perennis)

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