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Hedge ends with a dog rose

by Rod Kebble

Countryside Restoration Trust volunteers in their raingear contemplate a wet morning's work at Pierrepont Farm.

Hats and hoods were the order of the day when work began. The canes mark where hedging plants were to be planted in two rows.

Nine volunteers arrived on the wet morning of 3rd March to plant the last section of the hedge begun in January. This final bit runs across the front of the new dairy and — once grown — will act as a windbreak against the west wind which blows off the fields.

Countryside Restoration Trust volunteers planting a hedge in sunny conditions at Pierrepont Farm.

The weather soon brightened up and the planting progressed quickly.

The rain disappeared and farmer Mike Clear took advantage of the change to do a bit of slurry spraying in Rubbish Dump and Rolands fields. At this point the volunteers noticed that the west wind was indeed blowing, as the smell of the slurry wafted across and cleared their sinuses.

A 2,000-gallon (9,000 litre) slurry sprayer at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

Mike Clear (in tractor) and his 2,000-gallon (9,000-litre) slurry sprayer. Eight loads were sprayed on the fields in the morning but the 16,000 gallons (72,000 litres) taken from the slurry lagoon barely reduced the level of liquid in it. Spraying is not permitted from September to January, in order to reduce nitrate run-off from fields into watercourses, and so the lagoon gets pretty full during the winter.

The last plant to go in was a dog rose. Although the volunteers had run out of space for the hedge, there were still some plants left over. About 18 of these, mostly hawthorn, were planted between the pond and the road, in order to help stabilise the bank. The remainder will be planted in Reeds Left Field, to fill in the gaps in the hedge planted in 2007 and which has been struggling to gain a foothold in dry soil, under trees and at the mercy of voracious rabbits.

The last plantin in the new hedge at the Countryside Restoration Trust's Pierrepont Farm.

The last plant in the new hedge (front right) is a dog rose. To its left is a hawthorn and the two plants in the back row are blackthorns. "End" had been sprayed on the ground to stop volunteers planting in front of a drain cover and the sand is not the local soil (though there is plenty not far down) but comes from an adjacent pile.