Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Rural Rant.

I have an issue with the councils in rural areas and their obsession with keeping things tidy. I get particularly revved up by hedgerows. I'm that kind of girl.

This is the time of year that the hedgerows lay on an "all you can eat" buffet. Haw berries, blackberries, rose hips, rowan berries - I won't go on. Nature provides a banquet for the birds and other hedge dwellers to see them through the winter. Everything from blackbirds, field fares, crows, hedgehogs, shrews, voles, partridge, thrushes, robins to small children looking for blackberries gets a look in. It is the ultimate free for all.

Now this kind of abundance isn't neat. It means big, rambling hedgerows that tumble all over the place showing their wares to any passing wildlife. The photo on the left is what these kind of hedges should look like around now.

Naturally, our revered councils can't abide such an uncontrolled glut and must stick their fingers into the pie. Their policy seems to be that they will wait until everything ripens before deciding that enough is enough and sending out the hedge cutters. They could wait just one more month for the berries to be eaten, but no, they want to make sure that nobody gets a look in at the feast. As you can see from the photo on the right, the hedge cutters decimate the entire harvest and leave nothing but bare twigs.

Then people wonder why there isn't as much wildlife as there used to be and councils get tough on planning, breathing and generally living in a rural area in case our presence impacts on the treasured wildlife, wildlife they have just robbed of their main means of survival through the winter.

Hedges used to be cut and laid in the winter, never in the autumn. Which office dwelling prat decided that September would be the better time to do the work and what did they base this decision on? Please tell me it wasn't neatness and making the countryside look well kempt for the tourists? Why oh why isn't somebody who understands the countryside put in charge of this kind of thing?


Anonymous said...

Your 2 pics really upset me (don't get me wrong I love seeing your pics) but I am so annoyed at what authorities do. Who does it benefit - just blokes at desks trying to justify their jobs and tick off productivity boxes. It doesn't stop car drivers acting any less mad and as you say they wonder where all the wildlife has gone. Carry on ranting please!
Wendy (Wales)

Home Office Mum said...

I suggest you send the pics to the local paper with a sternly worded letter. Go on. Do it. Do it now. And then when they print it scan it in and show it to us and we can all cheer wildly for the save the berries campaign.(I too am a big fan of foraging). Councils need to be ranted at. Often.

Ian said...

Oh my god, this used to drive me completely mad. Thank you for ranting.

Sorry to be a bit off topic here (and I've come accross you on various of Katy Boo's blog roll bloggers), but I am the author of a book called 'A Place in My Country: In Search of a Rural Dream.'

A blogger (Katyboo1’s Weblog) recently posted a review of my book on and on her own blog.

I hope you don't mind but I thought it might therefore appeal to you too, as she has you on her blogroll. If you could read and review it that would grand!

Here's the Amazon reference but it is published by Phoenix in paperback and was published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson last year.

Anyway, there it is. Again, hope you don't object to this shameless self-promotion.

Kind regards,

Brennig said...

Is it local authorities that cut hedges in rural areas? I thought hedge trimming/cutting was the responsibility of the land owner?

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