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This month on the farm we’ve been finishing our tree planting. Each year we undertake tree planting as part of our annual cycle of conservation work. For 2021 we’ve put in 50 trees.

We’re restoring an ancient wood-bank of hornbeam hedgerow. These beautiful gnarled old trees which would have originally been laid, have now been cut to hedge height and we’ve planted twenty-five hornbeam whips between the stubs of the old hornbeam.

The original laid hedgerow is at least 500 years old so care is needed in restoring it. The hedgeline has long since been reduced to occasional stumps and our hope is that with the new planting we will thicken the growth again.

The other twenty-five trees we planted were larger saplings – oak, wild cherry and hazel. All of these saplings have been planted in between the stubs of this year’s tract of coppicing. We’re doing this for two reasons. One is that we are slowly losing a lot of the ancient sweet chestnut coppice trees – many of which are at least 500 years old – to old age and blight, which sadly now affects chestnuts in this part of the country. The other reason is simply to increase the diversity of tree species in our wood and therefore food sources for wildlife.

Each year we coppice one sixteenth of our woodland. We are currently five sixteenths through this current cycle of coppicing. We coppice to maintain the  provision of plentiful and renewable timber and so that the woodland is always in varying stages of growth allowing light to the woodland floor, thus encouraging flora and fauna. If you want to read more – check out February on the Farm which was all about this year’s coppicing.

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