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Monday, 27 December 2010

Hedge fund help for landowners

Wildlife will cash-in on new improvements in Brockenhurst thanks to a different kind of ‘hedge fund’ to benefit the New Forest landscape.

Launched in February, the New Forest Land Advice Service aims to support land managers for the benefit of the environment and already has 140 cases on its books.

Funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Natural England and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the independent service has been helping with everything from paperwork, managing hedgerows, and eradicating non-native plants, to training young commoners in managing back-up grazing land.

The Service’s small grants scheme - which has a total fund available of £20,000 for capital works – gave £2,000 towards a hedge-laying project in South Weirs, Brockenhurst.

Landowner and commoner Tina Campbell noticed the hedgerow was no longer thriving and applied for money towards rejuvenating the 185 metre-long stretch, using hazel stakes and binders to stabilise it.

Land Advice Service Manager Julie Stubbs said: ‘Hedges can become old, leggy and overgrown with one species so we encourage landowners to lay it down so it thickens up from the base.

‘This hedgerow acts as a wildlife corridor, connecting the open Forest with a field, woodland and stream, and it helps animals to travel between the habitats. Bats will use it to guide them and it is also beneficial for small mammals, birds, butterflies and insects.’

Julie and her team of Rhys Morgan and Mark Larter are experts in delivering this type of land management advice in the New Forest and Avon Valley.

The grants scheme funding comes from the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.

To find out more about the Land Advice Service, call Julie on 01590 646696 or email

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