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Nature trail  #18

Thick hedges

There are some very thick hedges on the estate. The Blackthorn hedge between the lower and upper meadow is about 5m from one side to the other. It works as a strip of woodland allowing wildlife to move around the garden unobtrusively. Blackthorn is a source of nectar for the bees, and a food plant for moths -the lackey, magpie, common emerald, swallow-tailed moth and yellow-tailed moth. 

Birds nest in the safety of Blackthorn's dense, spiny branches and the Muntjac and Roe deer lie low for the day deep in its thickets.

Wikipedia -blackthorn

The brown hairstreak butterfly caterpillar feeds on young shoots of blackthorn.  The eggs are laid on the young shoots where they overwinter.  In modern times they suffer both when blackthorn hedges are neglected and when farmers go over them with a flail cutter at year's-end.  We have started a system of staggered pollarding of blackthorns in the hope of attracting brown hairstreak butterflies to our site.

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