Hedges are a fundamental part of the countryside and the Northumberland Coast AONB is no exception, they provide a wealth of value as a feature on the landscape, they are a linear habitat and wildlife corridor providing a valuable food source for wildlife as well as upholding their primary function to the farm in helping retain livestock and give shelter from the wind especially off the cold North Sea.
We started some Hedge-laying Training this week at High Buston, to get the coast care volunteers into the swing of things we had a talk about the history of hedges, laying styles followed by the inevitable hedge and safety talk. The weather was kind, unlike the thorns with gorgeous sunshine and fine views over the thorn to Coquet Island.
We were joined by some members of the Berwick Youth Project who are getting youngsters out and engaged with conservation tasks and they got enthusiastically stuck into some pleachers and helped clear out the ditches of brambles and rubbish. Bill hooks sharpened and at the gang at the ready we chipped away and learnt about laying in a partial Northumberland/midlands style.
All thorned out at the end of the day we retired from our efforts with more than our fair share of scratches and prickles to shout about on our way home.
We will be continuing this work over the winter for new and old volunteers.
Tree and Hedge planting
Last week we started Tree and hedge planting at Tughall-Mill near Embleton, working in conjunction with the National Trusts Northumberland Coast Ranger Team, the Coast Care volunteers started helping to planting 5,500 trees into the landscape to improve and widen the sites woodland cover and its habitat potential.
With the dunes to our backs and in some beautiful blue sunny skies, we set to work planting an area that will expand an existing small woodland, with approx. Five hundred extra mixed native trees going into a woodland fringe, the wood will be diverse in nature and in woodland structure.
We planted Oak, Birch as a primary woodland with a varied under storey of field maples, yew, holly, rowan and hawthorn as well as planting wetter areas with willow and alder to make best use of the ground, alongside areas of alder buckthorn which is a great food source for a variety of butterflies.
We will be back in the coming weeks to help plant thousands of hedge whips filling old Gappy hedges to create more valuable linear habitats for wildlife.
If you would like to join Coast Care on our crusade to help improve the Northumberland coast AONB whether by sea or by land, drop me an email at Mark@coast-care.co.uk