The Lessons of the Monarch

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Birds, Fauna (Animals), Flora (Plants), Insects, Mammals, Trees 2

in 2002/3 i worked on an innovative reference book entitled Plant, led by Janet Marinelli, then of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and botanic gardens throughout the world. Its basic premise was that gardeners might help conserve plants that were threatened with extinction in the wild by conserving them in cultivation, thereby reserving the possibility of future recovery projects.  Although positive in tone, among the book’s clear themes were the sadly recurrent ones of changes in land use, habitat loss and fragmentation as universal threats to biodiversity and frequent causes of species’ extinction. Plant and its lessons were foremost in my mind when we began to develop Three Hagges Wood. The […]

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Preaching to the choir …

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Birds, Community, Education, Fauna (Animals), Flora (Plants), Grasses, Insects, Mammals, Management, Trees, Wildflowers 2

  in the early planning stages at Three Hagges Jubilee Wood in 2012, our prime concern was simply to avoid creating yet another plantation with a ground flora of nettles and brambles.  Two years down the line, this now seems achievable given careful planning and management.  Our initial costings indicate that it may be just possible within the existing Forestry Commission grant framework for new community woodlands, though we mustn’t overlook the cushion provided by a supportive landlord in Charlie Forbes Adam, the owner of Escrick Park Estate.  Not least of which is a 35-year lease at a peppercorn rent, with permissive access dawn-to-dusk year round. though our initial objectives are worthy, in the light of […]

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Everything is Connected

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Birds, Fauna (Animals), Flora (Plants), Insects, Trees, Wildflowers 0

  it has been on my mind for some time now, to try to draw attention to the extraordinary benefits to wildlife of creating a whole ecosystem as opposed to merely planting trees. In the fullness of time, we intend to create a resource that lays out the specific benefits of every species that we have planted at Three Hagges Wood.  I do know that all the plants we have chosen will be good for something: as a nectar source; a larval food source, a berry bearing food source, a place to rear young or simply a hotel. Of course, the logical way to do this is in ABC order, but every time I start, I get side-tracked into […]

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Three Hagges Wood, the story so far ….

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Fauna (Animals), Flora (Plants), Grasses, Insects, Management, Meadows, Trees, Wildflowers 0

  Why exactly are we trying to create an ecosystem at Three Hagges Wood? The end of the year is always a time of review and preview for me.  And though I’ve always been a bit of deadline girl, so much has happened at Three Hagges Wood this year, I’ve been provoked to begin early if I’m to assimilate it all. When first we set out to create a Jubilee Wood, one of the simplest objectives was to avoid making a plantation with an understorey of brambles and nettles.  It was clear from the outset that careful management was key to this.  Then, like Topsy, objectives grew and grew, until eventually our ambitions encompassed the creation of an […]

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Attacking the Nettles

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Birds, Flora (Plants), Grasses, Insects, Mammals, Trees, Weed control, Wildflowers 0

  some major threads of thought on the development of Three Hagges Wood have emerged during our dormant winter months. The first was prompted by a constructively critical review of the last blog, The Burden of Weeds, which included comments regarding the wildlife value of nettles, thistles and brambles. The second was provoked by an excellent Radio 4 programme on 12th February 2013, Costing the Earth, with Tom Heap, entitled When Nettles Attack.  It examined the increasing problem that native invasives present to biodiversity and drew on the work of, amongst others, Dr Lindsay Maskell at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. They include, of course, the usual suspects: nettles, thistles and brambles, the big three. Something of a dichotomy […]

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Let the Planting Begin!

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Flora (Plants), Management, Trees 0

Although our first tree planting date, 2nd December, 2012, makes us feel like we are really getting started on the creation of this new woodland, we have already done a great deal of behind-the-scenes work on the site, firming up our aims and mission, and the plans to fulfil them. Since we are using only native species, the selection of the trees is relatively straightforward – there are, after all, only 30-odd trees that qualify as native, along with a dozen or so tree-like shrubs.  These are the ones that colonised here in the wake of retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age some 8‑10,000 years ago (there are more refined definitions […]

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First Things First

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Flora (Plants), Management, Soil, Trees 2

As a result of past geological events, the soils of Yorkshire are so diverse that a soil scientist can study more soil types in the county than in any other in Britain. They range from soils derived from the hard limestones and millstone grits of the Dales and Pennines, through to the pure white chalk of the Wolds and everything in between. Much of North Yorkshire was covered by ice during the last Ice Age, and the underlying rocks were covered by sediments laid down by glaciers. And since then, this skin of deposits – drift – has been further sculpted by rivers, lakes, wind and ice. Here in the Vale of York, the underlying rocks are cloaked in drift from glaciers […]

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Wood and Glade

by Three Hagges Wood Meadow in Birds, Fauna (Animals), Flora (Plants), Mammals, Trees, Wildflowers 0

The creation of a wood on arable land with a crop of barley feels like a tall order.  There is such an overwhelming plethora of information and instruction on how this should be done, much of which has the clang of dogma, and little of which can be treated as universally applicable.  The requirements are likely to differ according to the aim of planting: timber production or amenity, production and amenity, or production, amenity and biodiversity, or any combination thereof. Winnowing the wheat from the chaff is our first task. Planting of a random mixture of all the available species is not the route to follow.  The starting point for a native woodland is obviously the choice of species, but […]

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