Hedge hedgerowdating

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The Cornish Hedge Research and Education Group (CHREG) is the main body promoting the understanding of Cornish hedges in Cornwall.

It is currently a partner in a trans-European project to share the knowledge of traditional skills in hedge and drystone buildings.

Many were replaced after the Enclosure Acts, then removed again during modern agricultural intensification, and now some are being replanted for wildlife.

Cornwall is rich in historic hedges, with over three-quarters of the hedges remaining today being anciently established.

Some hedges date from the Bronze and Iron Ages, 2000–4000 years ago, when traditional patterns of landscape became established.

Others were built during the Medieval field rationalisations; more originated in the industrial boom of the 18th and 19th centuries, when heaths and uplands were enclosed.

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Many other species are used, notably including beech and various nut and fruit trees.If hedges are not maintained or only trimmed repeatedly, gaps tend to form at the base over many years.In essence, hedgelaying consists of cutting most of the way through the stem of each plant near the base, bending it over and interweaving it between wooden stakes.New trees can be established by planting but it is generally more successful to leave standard trees behind when laying hedges.Trees should be left at no closer than 10 metres (33 ft) apart and the distances should vary so as to create a more natural landscape.

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