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Oaks and hedgerows

New Hedgerows at Highbury

The wooded fabric of the Rea Valley was once again enhanced THANKS  to the support of 'Forest School Birmingham', 'Trees For Cities' and our WOODLAND WEDNESDAY VOLUNTEERS, on this occasion at Highbury Park, with the planting of 600 hedgerow trees/shrubs including HAWTHORN, HAZEL, APPLE, ROWAN, GUELDER ROSE, DOG ROSE, FIELD MAPLE, ELM and ALDER BUCKTHORN.

Check out to see more about the 10,000,000 trees project and to whom we owe gratitude for establishing this project.

The Highbury planting followed consultation between the Rangers and the 'Working Party' to establish the lines on which the new hedges should follow.

The 1904 OS map of the park shows old hedge lines within the grounds of Highbury, although many had been 'grubbed' out during the Chamberlain landscaping era.
Highbury Park - ORDNANCE SURVEY 2nd edition 25" MAP, 1904

Four lines were proposed, two to the south of the long pool and two to the north. One of the factors was the 'Great Oak' to the north. This two, once three limbed specimen is under scrutiny from Tree Officers to ensure prolonged life for this important veteran. Popular opinion is against pollarding the tree, so other means of keeping the majority of people at bay was considered. Hence - hedgerow, scrub development and a dead hedging combo was decided.

The Great Oak (circa 1700) is highlighted on the map above with the hedgerow to the west. These were then chosen to 1. reinstate a former hedge and 2. protect the Great Oak.

Mary and Ben from Forest Schools Birmingham reinstating an old hedge

Oaks along the old hedge line at Highbury


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Highbury Park Friends January 2017 newsletter

Join Highbury Park Friends to get up to date information about this wonderful park - follow the link above for the latest newsletter.

There's so much going on already and this is set to increase as the Chamberlain Highbury Trust look to bring many new and exciting ideas to the Highbury estate and adjoining park land. Check out their website on the links below

Weekly and monthly activities incuding 'Woodland Wednesdays' with the Rangers and B&BCWT, supported by NIA (Nature Improvement Area) funding.

Woodland Play after school club, every Wednesday at the Orchard - Highbury Orchard Community Interest Company oversee this -

A visiting student from Virginia asks -

Q1 What do you think are the biggest benefits of teaching and using traditional woodland management techniques in city parks?
A1. The essence of a Ranger’s role is to engage the community at large with the aim of encouraging more people to use parks and green spaces. Therefore a range of themes, topics and activities are employed to meet the broad interests and diverse nature of the public, involving people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities etc. 
The ‘woodland’ theme seems to have universal appeal and is steeped in history, ecology, science, spirituality, mythology and culturally, much more.
So generally we can assume people want to learn something new, make something using natural resources and have an involvement in their local green space, so that a few basic skills, some knowledge and a morsel of understanding related to ecological principles allows people to feel good about themselves and enables them to share these good feelings, acquired skills and gained knowledge with…

Ecotones and Succession = TENSION

The term 'ecotone' cropped up this week as a Tree Officer colleague and I looked at Holders Woods in an exercise to describe the woodland structure, composition and current management.
The word ecotone was coined from a combination of eco(logy) plus -tone, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension. (Wiki)

Ecotones are generally recognised for ecological richness and a good place to observe the 'tensions' and interactions between certain animals and plants.

A woodland edge for example is often regarded as the richest part of a woodland, especially if the edge is bordered by grassland meadow or water.

The Rea Valley in this regard is a wonderful mix of urban ecosystems and ecotones, and one of my favourite locations is the developing oak woodland at the edge of Holders Woods. Undoubtedly the result of acorn planting Jays, we find oaks ranging from year 1 to year 50, but with a majority of young trees around 10-20 years, sugge…