We’ve replaced non-indigenous hedgerows with attractive native species at Windsor, enhancing landscape aesthetics and cultural heritage for visitors, at the same time as adding biodiversity value.
The UK is known throughout the world for our rich and varied hedgerows. They are an important part of our cultural heritage, and offer great value to people, wildlife and the environment. By replacing non-indigenous conifer hedging at Windsor with beech and hawthorn, we’re restoring historic character to the estate’s ancient landscape, enjoyed by millions of visitors each year.
The newly planted hedgerows will also bring ecological benefits to the area, with hedges that consist predominantly of native trees and shrubs recognised as a priority habitat within England’s Biodiversity 2020 targets. As the hedges grow, we look forward to them providing valuable habitat and refuge for a wealth of wildlife, such as birdlife, bats, bees, butterflies and dormice.
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In planting the hedges, our Windsor team drew on a rich tradition of hedgerow management techniques. To provide temporary screening while the hedges become established, they interwove hazel rods alongside the young plants, creating wattling that will naturally break down over five years.
Other traditional techniques included rotovating and conditioning the soil, hedge laying and mulching. As part of our community activities, a student from Berkshire College of Agriculture also worked with the project team, gaining practical experience to support his qualification.
In addition to adding value for Windsor’s visitors and wildlife, the native hedges will deliver cost savings over time, as they require less maintenance than the fast-growing conifer hedges that they replaced. So, these flourishing green screens will bring benefits for people, planet and profit over the long term.