Stewardship Species Hazel Farm Stewardship Hedging
Hedges are one of the oldest man-made features in our landscape, the planting and maintaining of them is common practice and is a superb way of conserving and enhancing the countryside. Corylus Avellana more commonly known as Hazel, is often found in a lot of mixed hedgerows and is widely recognised with its distinctive pale yellow catkins known as lamb tails that appear in later winter and well known for the nuts it produces popular with the squirrels!
For a while a lot of hedgerows on farms were destroyed to enable more efficient farming but in more recent years the Stewardship farming scheme has been created to encourage re-planting to help the environment and native Hazel is one of the plants included in the scheme being a fantastic resource of food and shelter for wildlife. Hazel is a very versatile deciduous shrub often used within a mixed hedge as it provides a good base being a suckering species but can also be grown admirably as a single species hedge.
The rounded leaves of Hazel are popular with caterpillars and provide excellent shelter for nesting birds. Hazel has a quick growth rate and is excellent grown and farmed as a coppiced wood.
They usually have several stems from each coppiced stool which can then be harvested every five to ten years. If areas of the coppice are harvested on rotation there will be an annual crop to be cut providing a yearly income. The coppiced wood is used in many ways, young shoots are supple so are excellent for weaving with older wood used for hurdles, furniture, building materials and fuel. Coppicing a wood provides an ever-changing environment maintaining the biodiversity of an area.
If you are keen to attract ground nesting birds such as nightingales, willow warblers and yellowhammers a coppiced wood provides an excellent habitat! Hazel wood is thought to have healing properties if worn next to the skin and the production of jewellery using hazel is becoming increasingly popular.