(ancient indicates pre the era of 18th and 19th century enclosures)
Most Lincolnshire hedges date from this period but examples of much older hedges can be found.
Hedge dating is a technique described by Max Hooper (‘Hedges and Local History’ 1971)
– count the number of species in a 30 metre section of hedge, e.g. 4 equals 4 centuries
old to a degree of accuracy of plus or minus 50years. No living part of the hedge
is 400 years old. It means that a hedge has been growing there for this period of
time. Shrubs die and re-
Most of the hedges in the Folkingham area are relatively modern, but much older hedges can be found. They are not usually straight (19th century hedges were planned by surveyors who favoured straight lines and uniform field sizes – usually 10 acres)
The hedge to the west of the Parish field in the direction of Pickworth (OS Ref 065337).
Five species present: hawthorn, field maple, dog rose, oak, elderberry – field maple
is normally only present in hedges older than four centuries (I have found no explanation
of why this is so, or if, indeed, it can be verified). This hedge also forms part
of the boundary between NKDC and SKDC. Such boundaries often pre-
Walcot Lane – section of hedge opposite the entrance to the playing field – species present – hawthorn, field maple, dog rose, ash, hazel and elderberry.
Walcot Lane – north of the playing field. Species present – hawthorn, blackthorn,
elderberry, field maple, ash, dog rose, guelder rose. The curves and bends in Walcot
Lane almost certainly follow the boundaries of the old open-
The footpath to Pickworth (OS ref 058337) – hedge at right angles at the top of the hill – this hedge continues the boundary between North and South Kesteven. Species present – hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple and dog rose.
Parish boundary between Pickworth and Folkingham. OS ref – 052337 – the last field
before Pickworth and marked by a footbridge through the hedge. The unusual zig-
Gettons Lane – green lane to the west of Walcot. OS ref 045350. These are amazingly rich hedgerows with obviously huge root systems I counted the species in eleven 30 metre sections of hedge on both sides of the lane. In addition this is an area rich in orchids and other wild flowers, indicative of undisturbed calcareous land. All sections have more than six species and some have as many as nine.Field maple was present in every section. Species noted were – hawthorn, field maple, dog rose, privet, hazel, ash, oak, blackthorn, guelder rose and honeysuckle. A trained botanist would probably find more. There is still disagreement as to whether to include brambles. We can only guess at the reasons for such an ancient hedge. Written records prior to the period of Parliamentary Enclosures are very rare, if they ever existed, maps are even rarer – was it an estate boundary, a deer park boundary? – we have no way of knowing.
Hedges are ancient monuments worthy of protection. Land owners were paid to take them up, now they are being paid to put them back. They are living records of our landscape’s history and development and a hugely important haven for our wildlife. It is reassuring to see an increasing number of new hedges in the landscape – thank you Mark Vigrass of Louth, whoever you are. It is not uncommon now to see the ancient skills associated with hedging being revived.
Hedges and Local History – National Council of Social Service 1979 edition
– an excellent survey of up-