Belmount Farm - Slyne
The historic art of hedge laying has been our greatest achievement on Belmount Farm. We have trained many volunteers over the years to master the skill, using axes and billhooks and successfully laid several miles of hedge. We use the Westmorland/North Lancashire style which creates a dense low hedge fantastic for breeding birds and allowing the hedge to rejuvenate for many years to come.
In addition to this we have been managing water meadows on the farmland difficult for grazing. Open ditches constantly ensure the area remains wet and we do minimal cutting over the summer months to retain a diverse habitat. A small area has been given over to a copse of trees and a hedge planted 20 years ago alongside the meadows has been laid for the second time. A fantastic site for birds and a rich habitat for invertebrates, moths and butterflies.
Over the years a long section of hedge has been replanted and further tree planting carried out. We are justifiably proud of the contribution we have made to enriching this urban fringe farm for wildlife and landscape.
The young whips in the copse were submerged in excessively lush vegetation which we cleared from around them to let light in. We cut and raked part of the wet meadow to help the diversity of habitat and enable reasonable access.
We needed to find and remove plastic guards that were originally used to protect young hedge whips from damage, particularly by rabbits, after the plants had grown to a less vulnerable size. We managed to retrieve five bagsful. This was a prickly job in places where the vegetation had become very lush, bordering Raikes Lane.