Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Political Animal Tracks

I try not to let politics enter my mind too much when out walking, but sometimes it helps to be aware of some of the tinkering that the political animals are up to. In the interests of the environment farmers are discouraged from working the land right up to the edge of woodland. They can set some of this land aside, typically a strip up to 8m, and be compensated for it through the government’s Entry Level Stewardship scheme.

The farmers are finely tuned into what is and is not productive land, they know from experience the parts of their fields that are not high-yielding. This will very often coincide with the areas that the sun does not reach fully, the shadows on the north side of tall trees for example. There is a bias towards finding these ‘buffer strips’ on the northern side of woodland, at the southern edge of fields.

This photo shows one example in the rape field in the middle distance, there is a buffer strip north of the woods in the right of the picture. It helps to show that we are looking east.