Devon field boundaries: restoration standards for agri-environment schemes (TIN039)


Devon hedge banks and stone walls are a key element of the county landscape character, and a fascinating historical record of mans use of the land over the centuries. They are also valuable wildlife habitats and agriculturally important, providing shelter for livestock and crops. Unlike hedgerows in other parts of Britain, the Devon hedge usually consists of an earth bank, which is faced either with turf or stone depending upon the local availability of stone, and will normally have hedge plants established along the top. True Devonians will refer to these structures as ''hedges'' (even when there are no hedge plants) but for the purposes of this document, the term ''hedge bank'' refers to the earth and /or stone structure and the hedge on top.

Hedge banks are susceptible to rapid erosion through high rainfall, and damage by livestock and burrowing animals. In addition, oversized hedge material on top of the bank can fall over, taking earth and stone with it. All boundaries require routine maintenance, interspersed with periodic restoration to keep them in good condition. This document covers the restoration of earth banks, stone faced banks and dry stone walls, as well as the rejuvenation of the hedge growing on top.

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