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Hedge Survey 1998

This survey was carried out by two members prior to the formation of GBH, but  because of the threat to several species of tree (2012), it is relevant to include it here so that future survey work can use the original findings.

Map notes from the 1998 survey 
Most of the hedges had no more than 3 species in each 30 metre section, were straight and right-angled at the corners; all indications of post-Enclosure construction. 
The species key indicates the shrubs and trees present in the hedge.  Other plants such as blackberry, ivy, nettles, cleavers, cow parsley etc. were common throughout but have not been included.
Hedges with a large number of species have been included in more detail, listing species at approximately 30 metre intervals.  These hedges may be several hundred years older than the others because of the variety of plants present.
Hedges were surveyed from the side, and in the direction, indicated by the arrows.
Field boundaries, except where houses have been built, remain the same (except for hedge no. 5) as shown on a map dated approximately 1886.
Field names are those in current use.
Fields indicated with * were not surveyed but may be worth further investigation.

Hatched areas indicate houses and gardens.
The plan has been drawn freehand and is not to scale.
Species key
hw hawthorn (both common and Midland)
ed elder
r dog rose
b blackthorn
a ash
m field maple
o oak
hy holly

d dogwood
el elm
s sycamore
w willow (crack)
c crab apple
hz hazel
other species are given in full

Hedges 1-5. Field known as “Big Field”.  Now pasture, ridge and furrow visible running approximately north-south. Footpath crosses east-west in top third of field.
Hedge 1 Clipped hedge, no ditch, straight line, 2.7 m wide and 1.8 m high at stile on footpath. Several old ash trees all approximately the same age.  Species: hw, r, ed, a, b.  Detail: 6 x 30 m sections hw, r, ed, a.   (2) same as (1).  (3) same as (1). (4) same as (1). (5) b, ed, r, hw, a.  (6) same as 5.   4 sections = 4 species, 2 sections = 5 species.
Hedge 2 Follows line of stream. Stream full of water.  Uncut and overgrown into trees. Hedge not layed for years. Hedge on both sides of stream now. Burrows? Gaps between the trees. Species: a, hw, ed, r, b. Detail:5 x 30 m sections, 1 x 10 m
a, hw, ed. (2) hw, r, ed, mature a. (3) hw, mature a, ed. (4) hw, ed, a. (5) r, hw, ed. 10m to corner hw, b.  Other plants: ivy, nettles, cow parsley, blackberry, cleavers, deadly nightshade, pink campion, dock.

Hedge 3. Uncut overgrown into trees. Species: hw, b, a, ed, r. Detail: 9 x 30 m sections (1) hw, b, mature a. (2) hw, ed. (3) hw, ed. (4) hw, ed, r. (5) hw, ed, r. (6) hw, ed, r. hw, ed, b. (8) to stile hw, ed. (9) r, hw, b, mature a.  Also nettles, blackberry and deadly nightshade.
Hedge 4. Clipped, 1.5m wide and 2.0 m high at gate. Ditch on south side, curved corner. Species: hw, a, r, b.
Detail: Present in all sections: hw, a, r, b, and also blackberry.  

Hedge 5. Partly open gap between fields (gap closed on 1886 map)  Mature oak on previous hedge line.  Hedge clipped, some gaps. Species: hw, b.  Detail: 1 x 30 m. section hw, b, space open to mature o.
Hedges 6-7. Small field known as Top Paget’s.  Pasture, no sign of ridge and furrow. Hedge on south side is now incomplete (no 5).
Hedge 6. Hedge clipped, ditch on west side. Species: hw, b, r, o, a. 5 species within 30 m.
Hedge 7. Wide hedge, clipped, some gaps. 
Detail: 4 x 30 m sections. 5 species in 2  x 30m sections, 6 species in 1 x 30 m section.
a, hw, ed, r, m. (2) ed, hw, r, m, o, b. (3) b, mature a, young o, young a, hw. (4) b, hw. 

Hedges 8-9. Field known as Middle Pagets.(or Knights End Close) No ridge and furrow visible.  Pasture. Earthworks visible, possible medieval house platforms.
Hedge 8. Wide hedge, now clipped Evidence of earlier laying.  Ditch on north side. Hedge bends a little. Species: r, hw, b, m, ed, hy within 50 m. Detail: 2 x 30 m sections from gate towards east. (1) r, hw, b, m.  (2) hw, ed hy, r.  Also nettles thistles, blackberry and ivy.
Hedge 9. Hedge partly overgrown into trees, partly clipped to about 1.5 m. high. Some gaps towards north end.  Evidence of past laying.  Small ditch on west side.  Species: hw, ed, m, a, b, r.  Detail: 3 x 30 m. sections, 1 x 10 m. section. 
hw, ed, m(tree). (2) ed, hw, r. (3) b, a, hw, ed. (4) 10 m. b, gaps in hedge.Blackberry and ivy in undergrowth
Hedge 10.  On Dingley Road.  Surveyed as far as the old or flood channel of the River Welland. Very faint ridge and furrow running north-west/south-east. Now pasture. Field is known as 30 acre field or Chater’s Big Field. Footpath crosses from east to west.
Hedge 10. Alongside Dingley Road.  Low hedge recently layed.  Large gaps near to River Welland flood channel.  Ditch on road side.  Species: ed, hw, a, hz, el, r. Detail: 7 x 30 m. sections. ed, hw, a, hz, el, r. (2) hw, hz, r, el. (hedge missing in places). (3) r, hz, hw (10 m hedge missing). Gate and footpath stile, gate locked. (4) Hedge overgrown into mature trees, el, hw. (5) hedge missing in places hw, ed, el. (6) hz, hw, ed, parts missing. (7) hw, mostly missing. Also: thistles, nettles, cleavers, deadly nightshade, meadowsweet, cow parsley, blackberry, willowherb.
Hedges 11-14.  South of cemetery.  Now known as Cemetery Field.  Hedge 11 lies between Cemetery Field and Chater’s Big field (Hedge 10). Ridge and  furrow visible lying east-west. There is a deep field pond surrounded by trees in the  south-west corner of this field. Hedge 12 lies between Cemetery Field and Webbs Field East. also known as Bottom Paget’s. Hedge 13 borders the south and east sides of Great Bowden Cemetery and Hedge 14 is alongside Dingley Road.
Hedge 11. Low hedge, recently layed, some gaps.  Hedge missing near road. Species: hw, r, ed, a, b. Detail:  5 x 30 m. sections. 1 x 8m. section. From pond to the road. (1) a, ed, hw around pond.(2) hw, ed, r . (3) hw, ed, mature a. (4) ed, hw. (5) hw, a, ed. (6) hw, b.
Hedge 12. Hedge partly overgrown into trees, partly replanted with whips in plastic sleeves (near cemetery).   Species (i) a, hw, r, b, d, damson. b, a, hw, m, r, horse chestnut.  Detail: ditch on far side. 1 x 10m. fence. 1 x 30 m. section. 1 x 25m. section.
fence. (2) a, hw, r, b, d, damson. (3) b, a, hw, m, r, horse chestnut.
Hedge 13. East and south sides of cemetery.  Overgrown into 4 metre high trees. Evidence of past laying. Species: hw, b, ed, m, el (some dead), s, a. Detail: 3 x 30 m. sections.  1 x 25 m. section. (1) hw, b, ed. (2) to corner hw, el?, ed, b, m. (3) el (some dead), hw, s. (4) 25m. m, el?, hw, a. Also nettles, dock, thistles, ivy, blackberry, cow parsley, bindweed, cleavers, rosebay and another willow herb, sorrel.

Hedge 14. Alongside Dingley Road in Cemetery Field. Ditch on field side. Low hedge, recently layed. One 10 metre gap. Species: ed, hw, o, a, b, hy, r. Detail: 6 x 30 m. sections. (1) ed, hw, young o. (2) hw, ed, mature a.  (3) b, hw, hy, ed.    (4) hw + 10 metre hedge missing. (5) ed, hw, r. (6) hw, ed.
Hedges 15-17. Webbs Field East also known as Bottom Paget’s. Pasture. Ridge and furrow visible and aligned north-south.
Hedge 15. Hedge overgrown into mature trees. Surveyed from the gate on the east side towards the south side.  Detail: 2 x 30 m. sections.  (1) mature a, r, hw, ed, m, d?, damson? (2) ed, hw, b, mature a, hz, el, r.
Hedge 16. Low hedge, recently layed and partly replanted with whips in plastic sleeves.  Also mature ashes. Species: r, hw, a, b, d, ed, hy.  Not able to identify some of the newly planted whips. adjoining Webbs Field West.  Detail: 3 x 3 m. sections, 1 x 12 m. section. (1) r, hw, mature a, b, d?, ed. (2) hw, b, hy, mature a, r. (3) r, b, hw, ed. (4) 12m. hw, b, a, d?.
Hedge 17. Adjoining Christchurch paddock and on the south bank of the Gunnsbrook. Hedge overgrown into trees. Detail: 2 x 30 m. sections. (1) hw, b, r, c, mature a, w. (2) b, hw, m, ed, a, c, r.
Hedges 18-20  Christchurch Paddock.  No ridge and furrow visible but there are some earthworks and possible enclosures visible.
Hedge 18.  Follows the bank of the Gunnsbrook.   Hedge overgrown into mature trees. Detail: 2 x 30 m. sections.  (1) hw, b, ed, r, m, a, damson. (2) to bend, a, hw, w, ed, b, s, r, el.
Hedge 19. Net fence with newly planted whips in plastic sleeves, some not identified. Detail: 2 x 30 m sections (1) net fence replanted whips (2) replanted, some whips, hw, b, r, m, a, beech?
Hedge 20. Alongside Dingley Road  up to the cemetery wall. Recently layed (woven). Detail: 2 x 30 m. sections. (1) hw, a, ed, m, r, hz. (2) clipped hw, ed, a.  Remnants of old hedge at side of cemetery wall with hw, ed, a.
Hedge 21-24.  In and around Buckwell Close. At the end of Berry Close.  No visible ridge and furrow.  Footpath crosses east-west in top third of field. Bottom south-east corner of the field is damp.
Hedge 21. On north side of Buckwell Close.  Detail: Hedge uncut and neglected. Ditch on south side. 4 x 30 m. sections.  (1) and (2) ed, hw, b. (3) and (4) ed, hw, b, a. Also blackberry, nettles and cleavers.
Hedge 22. from the stile southwards as far as Berry Close. Detail: no ditch, not on 19th centruy map. hw, m, s, also nettles and sorrel.
Hedge 23. From the footpath northwards. Detail: recent cypress, blackthorn, cleavers and nettle underneath.
Hedge 24. From the stile to Station Road Detail: m, ed, hw, hy, a.  5 species found. A neighbour in Station Road said that the hedge was there before the houses were built but it does not appear on 19th century map.
The recently layed hedges mentioned above form part of a 10 year hedge restoration programme, started in 1995, under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and undertaken by the landowner.

A previous study of some of the hedges, undertaken in 1995, by Christine Kirk of the Leicestershire Hedgerow Project suggested that some of the hedges (nos. 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18) in our study were probably  of pre-Enclosure age in view of the large number of plant species present.The presence of elm was surprising in some hedges near Dingley Road.  This may be an incorrect identification although the area had abundant English elm before they were wiped out by Dutch elm disease. Possibly it was re-growth of young plants.