Today, I walked past the field in the Tamar valley – a route I have taken many times.
Today a sight deeply disturbed me: a stand of mature trees in the middle of the field had been reduced to half its size.
All around, farmers are cutting down the hedges. Not just brash, but also mature trees within the hedgerows that serve as perches for birds and shape the character of this AONB.
I understand that hedges are treated that way to comply with a higher level stewartship scheme, for which farmers get payment through the Rural Payment Agency for rejuvenation of hedgerows and fencing.
Whether or not the cutting of these emergent trees is intended or not by the Stewardship Scheme, I don’t know. I fail to understand the sense of it.
But cutting down a stand of trees is something else.
It is destructive and depressing in equal measure.
What about habitat, biodiversity, carbon footprint, amenity…?