More losses, recent …. not those long lamented

We reported recently on lost landscapes, the choice of an image for the post was that of a green lane near the idyllic village of Fishlake.  Set in the type of quintisential English countryside which used to be common place around Doncaster’s northern villages of Fishlake, Sykehouse and Moss.

Sadly, in today’s market place where profit is the primary driver hedgerows continue to be grubbed out to enlarge fields which can more easily accommodate the enormous machinery used by agri-industrialists.

The farmer, yesterday’s custodian of the countryside is a declining and increasingly rare species alongside the species rich hedgerow which used to grace the green lanes of yesteryear.

There is hedgerow legislation which is  supposed to afford a degree of protection to ancient hedgerows.  Inclosure Award hedgerows for which Fishlake is reknowned for are lost at an ever more alarming rate.  If in doubt, then the planning portal also offers guidance.




The first of the images shown here takes the visitor a little further along that same Fishlake lane.  Then the following show a sequence which illustrate the sudden and fresh gap.




The edges of the drain illustrate recent digging.




And removal of substantive roots from hedgerow trees which once graced the pastoral landscape.  In previous eras hedgerows were valued as they sheltered stock and prevented soil erosion and as a linear wildlife corridor and habitat was home to a range of wildlife.




Please, if you see activities like this when you’re out and about in the countryside, particularly in areas designated as being of high landscape value, then please …. don’t just assume that it’s part of some countryside stewardship or management scheme.  Ring up the local authority hedgerow officer, the local councillor or your MPs constituency office.

Local Wildlife Trusts, the RSPB and CPRE have staff who might be able to assist and advise who is the best agency to contact.  Natural England, the Government’s advisor on the environment and the Environment Agency also have biodiversity obligations as well as staff to advise.

Evidence of the activity is helpful so take photographs, make notes and if you can, try to work out grid references so when Local Authority staff visit they can refind the location easily.  Smart phones these days, in addition to cameras have all sorts of useful ‘apps’ – do your bit, help preserve the countryside and please remember that, in the words of Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” and Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a  little”. 

Tomorrow is too late and species rich hedgerows with substantive oaks dating back to pre-inclosure (1825 in the case of the Fishlake Award) take a long time to grow back.

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