|Training the trainers - a good practical way of learning - out on the farm|
Yesterday I spent the day at the GWCT farm at Loddington in Leicestershire discussing pollinators and in particular the role that hedges and field boundaries play in helping to deliver the habitat requirements for this multitude of insects, namely pollen & nectar, breeding sites and over-wintering quarters.
Jim Egan, who heads up GWCT Training & Development and is based at the farm, organised a very instructive day for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) advisers, of which I am one.
We had an up-date from Natural England’s Mike Green on the new Stewardship scheme with particular reference to the new pollinator package, although there are still a few “tweaks” to be made!
This was followed by talks from two experienced hedgerow managers, Rob Wolton and Nigel Adams both representing Hedgelink (details below), who gave interesting presentations on the practical ways of managing hedges and the wildlife that depends on them.
Then it was out onto the farm to discuss various management regimes for the different types of hedges. The farm manager Phil Jarvis was on hand to give his perspective on hedges – always a good leveller to have an experienced guy like this around to stop the conversation getting too fanciful!
We looked at and debated such topics as coppicing, laying and trimming programmes and the best machinery and tools for the job. The pros and cons of hedge shape, height, width, choice of species and if gaps in hedges are good or bad – were all chatted about! CFE advisers are an experienced lot, so the discussion was lively and robust, as you would expect from people genuinely interested in the subject.
These days are important if CFE advisers are to go onto farms and hold events to bring farmers across the country up to date. They can now do this knowing that they have the latest details and practical methods to get the job done correctly and more importantly farmers can rest assured that they are getting the best advice.
|Unmanaged hedge on right, coppiced in the middle and laid on the left - great to study it all in one spot!|
For more info on hedge management go to: www.hedgelink.org.uk