If you go down to the woods……….

You may see –

in the distance –

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something black and white amongst the trees …..

Our latest helpers – some Belted Galloway Cattle to help with grazing and browsing to keep the Commons open and under control.

Our grazier brought them down from the fields on Sunday and they were very keen to explore their new home for the summer

SONY DSCThere are 12 on Lynchmere Common, cows with calves, young heifers and one rather large but very benign and relaxed steer.

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Galloways are widely used for conservation grazing and are a very calm breed of cattle but we ask that they are treated with respect – especially if you walk your dog on the Commons.

On the Little Common there will be 3 Sussex and 2 Galloways.

And just a quick look at our newly planted hedge:

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Looking a whole lot nicer with a lovely lot of bluebells filling the gap between the ‘artistically’ curving hedge lines. Most saplings are in leaf so all seems well.

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Thanks Woodland Trust!

and our band of helpers that spend a couple of hours in glorious sunshine planting a double hedge on top (mostly) of our boundary bank at Roundabouts Field. The woodland Trust had kindly given us another 420 hazel, blackthorn, crabapple, dog rose and elder saplings complete with bamboo canes and spiral tree guards to join the ones we planted earlier this winter.

hedge 3-15

 

Our hedge is now complete and looks quite good – from the right vantage point. On the other hand it looks as if we enjoyed a bit more than just coffee and cake while planting it in a somewhat drunken looking line. But our excuse is the fact that nature abhors straight lines, the bank is uneven, rabbits make holes in it etc etc. Once the trees are established and the tree guards gone nobody will notice.

Just as we were leaving the bank got inspected by one of the local residents:

hedge lizard

a gorgeous little common lizard – he sat there for ages basking and let us come quite close while he flattened himself to absorb as much sun as possible.

 

More hedge to plant

In addition to the 105 saplings we planted in awful weather in November, we received have another 420 thanks to The Woodland Trust. Please come and give us a hand on Saturday 7 March to get them into the ground along the field edge at Roundabouts near Lynchmere Green.
We are aiming to have a complete double hedge along this boundary bank which will in due course be laid. the saplings are as before hazel, blackthorn, elder, crab apple and dog rose.
We need to clear a bit of existing bracken and bramble, plant the whips and put tree guards round them. Let’s hope we have enough willing helpers at the usual time from 10.00 to 12.30.

Nice weather for ducks – and hedges

Last Sunday a handful of dedicated, enthusiastic and most of all very wet volunteers planted 105 saplings to continue our existing hedge. Oh – and we gave the old hedge a haircut. All was done in an amazing 2 hours – how the weather focuses the mind! I will post photos as soon as I make it back to the finished product in daylight.
The saplings – a mixture of hazel, blackthorn, crabapple, elder and dog rose – was kindly provided by the Woodland Trust and we hope to get another few hundred in the early spring to continue planting the double hedge then.
And what does it all mean? It means that in a few years time there is more hedge to lay – a task that all that took part two years ago found really rewarding and interesting.

hedge before hedge after

 

Sorry for the bad quality – but it shows the bank before and after we planted our saplings complete with tree guards. A bit of a wavy line but the bank is not very regular and anyway nature is rarely in straight lines.

A quick look at how the existing laid hedge has regrown. We removed the branches that grew outwards into the road but mostly they grow nicely upwards -as it should be.

hedge regrowth

We didn’t kill it!

Proof at last that our hedge has survived our attempts to tame it:

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All the cut and laid stems are sprouting, the whips that were planted to fill the gaps have mostly taken as well and all we need now is new shoots sprouting from the base.

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There is also a beautiful, previously hidden strip of bluebells in the gap between the two hedges.