It turns out the hedge we had re-laid is an "Important Hedgerow" under the terms of the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 which were made under Section 97 of the Environment Act 1995 and came into operation in England and Wales on 1 June 1997. The hedge forms the boundary between our orchard and the farmer's fields to the south. As such it is protected from removal and destruction.
The reason why it is classified as Important is it marks the boundary between two parishes prior to 1850, it being on the parish boundary between Turnditch parish and the Shotlle and Postern parish.
The hedge at the river end of the field is also under the same category because the public footpath runs closely parallel. Under the regulations having a footpath or bridleway close to the hedge makes it classified as Important and thus protected.
The trees in the woodland on the embankment adjoining the orchard are regulated under the Forestry Act 1967 which imposes limits on which trees can be felled. They control the amount of timber which can be felled (up to 5 Cu M per calendar quarter) and allow some exemptions for pruning, thinning, pollarding and coppicing. The plans we have for tidying and maintaining the woodland will fall within the exemptions. We are planning gradual coppicing spread over three years. It does does however mean we'd have to apply for a felling licence if we were to need to fell the large old Ash tree on the south hedge.
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