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Hedgerow Survey


Page updated - 09 March 2005

Contact Details:

The Editor, c/o Council Offices. The Stevenson Centre, Stevenson Approach,

Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk. CO10 0WD. Tel: (01787) 373212.  Fax: (01787) 312191.

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Cornard News - These reports were first published in Cornard News


MARTIN DOUGLAS 1952 – 2008.

Sadly Martin Douglas died in the early part of 2008. However I am pleased to announce that the Hedgerows Survey that he started on 14 April 2004 has now been completed and the report fully compiled.


The results of the survey show many really good and interesting species-rich hedgerows with some interesting and unusual trees, such as the Duke of Argyll Tea Tree and some ancient oaks and elms. Nearly all the hedgerows in the parish were surveyed, much was revealed about past agricultural practice and thankfully much of the original landscape remains with some excellent examples of old practices such as coppicing and pollarding. The survey produced an enduring and unequivocal record of the heritage and inheritance of the landscape hedgerows in the parish. Apart from the dedicated work that Martin carried out, thanks must also go to Allison Wells and David Thomas.


I was greatly helped by Jean and John Morten who bravely took on more hedgerows and I can think of no more fitting a tribute than to be able to complete his work and dedicate the survey to his memory. Martin was the epitome of a country, wildlife, conservation man who devoted every possible spare moment to the cause for wildlife and the environment.


Guy Ackers

Chairman, Suffolk Hedgerow Survey

03 February 2009

2003 Winter

Issue 16


In the spring of 2004 a survey of all the hedgerows in Great Cornard will commence. It will be part of a Suffolk County project that is expanding across the Babergh district. Part of the survey will record all the trees in the parish.

We will arrange training on a suitable day and as a participant you will be contributing to a very useful parish record for future generations.

Martin Douglas – Survey Co-ordinator.

2004 Spring

Issue 17


As part of a Suffolk County project, a team of dedicated volunteers will begin to survey all the hedgerows in the parish of Great Cornard. Beginning in April we will start surveying the outer boundaries working our way towards the centre of the village. You may think that there are no surviving hedgerows or trees in a relatively new development in the villages’ history but there is still considerable evidence of these historic boundaries. We will be recording all the hardwood species, structure and associated features using a standard systematic survey sheet.

Training is provided and it has proved to be most enjoyable in other parishes where surveys have been completed. After a few visits surveyors are able to determine local history from the landscape. On completion of the survey, the Parish will have a valuable record of these vital wildlife corridors. Along with the veteran trees, the survey will be acknowledged as an asset for the next generation.

Martin Douglas – Survey Co-ordinator.

2004 Summer

Issue 18


The Survey has now begun in the parish, working from our northwestern boundary with Sudbury, gradually working our way southeastwards to the southern boundary with Little Cornard. In the early part of the summer we are surveying the residential area of the parish, not only looking for evidence of old hedge boundaries but also an audit of all the mature native trees, that still survive in Great Cornard.

Local residents may be surprised that on our first day of surveying we discovered several boundary hedges, some of them very old. Even more surprising, we also discovered, and had verified, an old green lane that was used by horse and cart, right at the heart of the village!

Later in the summer we should have finished the main built-up area and will then move out to the farming landscape to survey the remaining boundaries within the parish. It is anticipated that we should finish the survey by late September and on completion will have a very accurate record of all the parish hedgerows, even remnants that still survive. Discovering native trees is always enjoyable because so many of them go right back in time, sometimes hundreds of years. Although there have been dramatic changes in recent times, there is still plenty of evidence of Great Cornard's historical, agricultural past, once you are inspired to look for it and perhaps more important value it. We can always use more volunteer help, to join our small enthusiastic team of volunteer surveyors, so come and join us.

Martin Douglas – Survey Co-ordinator.

2004 Autumn

Issue 19


While continuing with the parish Hedgerow Survey during the summer, local wildlife has been observed right in the heart of the village. It can be quite surprising to encounter a Muntjac deer, resting in the sunshine, immediately behind one of the village pubs! Also, a family of Tawny Owls living quite close to one of the main thoroughfares in the village. With the river close by and the rising hills looking over the valley, Great Cornard is very fortunate in having many varied habitats in which this wildlife survives. We obviously have several breeding Badger Setts, Foxes and at least two types of Deer. We have discovered much more but of particular interest has been the recording of Great Cornard's agricultural past (and present) This is revealed in the most exhilarating way by identifying very old green lanes and tracks, Veteran Trees and of course the historic hedgerows. One can only marvel at all the events that have happened in the village, since these extremely valuable assets, were established?

Once we have completed the Hedgerow and Tree Survey we will have an accurate baseline, to work from in establishing a parish audit of all these precious wildlife habitats that play an ever-increasing part in our landscape and development planning. It is absolutely vital that these historic assets are protected and maintained for future generations. They have survived for hundreds of years going back probably to the time of the Tudors. Like so many of the surveys currently being carried out, right across Suffolk, we have recorded that the majority of hedges are species rich.

Martin Douglas & Dave Thomas – Survey Co-ordinators.

2004 Winter

Issue 20


The survey of the parish of Great Cornard is now almost completed with just a few hedges hidden in odd parts of the village, to complete. During the winter, we will add all the details to our master map, which will then be sent to the Biological Records Office in Ipswich. It will be a permanent record of what we discovered as a ‘snapshot in time’ during the summer of 2004. Nearly 150 hedges in all and some of them very historic indeed. It was enlightening, to see revealed, past agricultural practices and management. Some of those practices ceased rather dramatically after the First World War and obviously just as powerful, particularly in the farming landscape after the Second World War. Thankfully much of the original landscape remains and in a relatively small parish by Suffolk’s 700 villages we discovered some very special examples of coppicing, pollarding and several rare and valuable trees. Some parts of the village, overlooking the Stour Valley are very special areas and it is hoped these will be protected from future development. The purpose of the survey was to record this baseline data, not in a negative way, to obstruct planning but to provide voluntary recording of what we have in the village as a valuable enjoyable asset.

To this end we will annotate a village map, which will highlight these assets and other points of interest. When completed it will be on public view and hopefully of interest to people living in Great Cornard. We can certainly devise a village figure of eight walk that would take in much of what we discovered. Perhaps one or two people might be motivated to join us in protecting Great Cornard’s heritage and wildlife for the future.

It would be appropriate that we say ‘thank you’ to the local landowners & farmers, Parish Council and, in particular, Dave Thomas & Allison Wells who did much of the surveying. If you would like to be involved in this voluntary work you can contact me via this Website by using this hyperlink.  Email Martin Douglas

Martin Douglas – Survey Coordinator