Here is another story for you about ‘Farming in Meneage‘ written by Brindley Hosken… and what a photo!!
At Withan, we are in a countryside stewardship scheme. This scheme pays us a certain amount of money for farming in a way that helps the environment. We have to amass a number of points to qualify, with various options available to us. Among the options are, hedgerow management, planting wild flowers, wild birdseed mixture in grassland and buffer strips around fields. Buffer strips are strips around the edges of fields that are left unplanted to act as wildlife corridors. They are more appropriate for large arable farms. We are in the entry-level scheme. There is a higher-level scheme, but this would seriously compromise our farming if we took part. We struggle to amass enough points for the entry level scheme.
Most of our points come from hedgerow management. We agree to only trim our hedges every other year instead of every year, which used to be our custom. This is supposed to make a better habitat for nesting birds.
In my opinion, at Withan, sycamores will grow at 8 to 10 feet a year and after two years we are struggling to trim trees of 2 to 3 inches girth and I feel this leads to a less dense more straggly hedge. After two years our hedges are looking decidedly scruffy.
I liken it to myself instead of having a no 4 crewcut as usual, deciding to grow dreadlocks and a beard. It may be better for the wildlife but I would certainly look a mess. However rules are rules and if I want the money I have to abide by them.