Trees and Hedgerows Across Rushcliffe
Trees, woodland and hedgerows are important habitats within Rushcliffe and Rushcliffe Borough Council is committed to protecting and enhancing our trees, woodland and hedgerow resource. Please see the information below for more detail:
Rushcliffe has seven ancient woodlands that have existed since at least 1600 AD but woodland covers only 5.75sq km (1.04%) of Rushcliffe, so all the trees we have are important.
The reason for the low woodland cover in Rushcliffe, is partly due to its fertile soils and its high value for agriculture, having often been cleared 1000’s of years ago. The historic land use has led to the development of important ecological resources being more concentrated on wetland, grassland, hedgerow and agricultural habitats, these resources can be valuable in their own right and it would be inappropriate to replace them with woodland. Rushcliffe is typically regarded as a ‘green’ borough, but this is largely due to habitats other than woodland.
We have eight (64 hectares) ancient woodlands (woodlands that have existed since at least 1600 AD and are irreplaceable) and one plantation on ancient woodlands (3.2 hectares) (Natural England, 2020) and (Pinder, 2020). Woodland has a big visual impact and supports a wide variety of wildlife. Woods require long-term management to maintain and enhance their wildlife interest.
Within Rushcliffe woodland is more common within the Nottinghamshire Wolds area, on ridge lines e.g. between Kingston on Soar, Gotham and Bunny and East Bridgford to Flintham, and the area between Radcliffe on Trent to Cotgrave Forest.
Trees, woodland and hedgerows benefit both people and the environment providing many ecosystem services, including supporting wildlife (providing homes and food), visual benefit, providing benefits for recreation and mental health; counteracting climate change and absorbing carbon, alleviating flooding, preventing soil erosion and trapping pollutants (having a positive impact on asthma sufferers and other breathing related health problems), providing a barrier to strong winds and produce fuel and wood products. They prevent soil erosion and produce fuel and wood products, supporting the rural economy.
Total tree cover in Rushcliffe (which includes Street trees, garden trees, highways trees, field and hedge trees and parkland trees in addition to woodlands) covers 11.1% of Rushcliffe or 3728 hectares, this varies across the borough from 4.8% tree cover in the Cropwell Ward, up to 18.8% tree cover in Edwalton in 2020 (RBC, 2020). See also the Forestry Research tree canopy maps online and put Rushcliffe into the search box
In some areas of the borough, large scale tree planting could be detrimental to local landscape character and due to the lower density of existing woodland provide lower ecological gain. In these areas, tree planting would be best limited to trees within hedgerows, field corners, along riparian and highway corridors and around the periphery of settlements, provided other important ecological habitats do not already exist on these sites.
Veteran or mature and dead trees in woods, hedges, gardens, fields, and along watercourses are particularly important for wildlife.
The organisation Hedgelink provides useful advice and information about hedgerows, including their management see the the Hedgelink website. Advice is also available in the hedgerow guidance leaflet on the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group website
The Woodland Trust operates MOREwoods, a UK-wide scheme which provides financial and practical woodland creation support. Please see the Woodland Trust website for more details.
The Woodland Trust MOREhedges scheme is available for all landowners looking to plant more than 100m of hedgerow. Please see the Woodland Trust website for details.
The Woodland Trust provides free tree and hedgerow packs for community groups and schools. Please see the Woodland Trust website for more details
The Forestry Commission operate the woodland elements of the Countryside Stewardship grant scheme for larger farm based woodlands. Please see the Forestry Commission Countryside Stewardship webpage for more details.
The governments Countryside Stewardship Scheme can support hedgerow planting and gapping up and trees planting for farmers and landowners. See the governments Countryside Stewardship website for details.
The Tree Council also provides grants and advice for both tree and hedgerow planting.
I Dig Trees, from The Conservation Volunteers also provides community groups with trees and hedge plants.
The Rushcliffe Biodiversity Support Grant may also be able to help small schemes that benefit wildlife and are not eligible for other support.
Our Funding handout 2015 may also be of help
On January 9 2018, the Cabinet at Rushcliffe agreed to a package of measures to prioritise tree planting and protection. Please see our the Cabinet report is also available online. An update has been given to the Council's Community Development Group on 26 February 2019, details in the Community Development Group report.
On 29 September 2022 the Council voted to adopt a strategic aim to protect hedges within the Borough and to increase our hedgerow network by 40% by 2050, see Item 37 of the council minutes for 29 September 2022
A Tree Warden Network has been established (see the Tree Council's tree warden web page for background information about Tree Wardens). Wardens will be nominated by Parish Councils and West Bridgford Local Area Forum within West Bridgford. See also our Trees across Rushcliffe Facebook page
Rushcliffe residents can make their own properties even greener by applying for free trees, this scheme takes application each summer and delivers native trees in the winter. For 2023 please apply for trees online.
A trees scheme also operates for communities across Rushcliffe, talk to your Tree Warden for further information.
The councils tree and hedgerow aspirations and policies are set out within the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy and the appendices at Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy - Appendices or the pdf version can be downloaded from the right hand box on this page.
We are looking to carry out a study of the existing hedgerows in Rushcliffe to find out their condition and then develop ways to further protect and enhance them.
You can plant a tree on your own land (see Sources of Funding section above and our Landscaping and tree planting pages for help).
Rushcliffe residents can apply for free trees in the summer, for delivery in winter.
You can talk to your County or Borough Councillor about where trees should be planted or to report trees at risk (see the Your representatives web page to find your councillor).
You can join a group that helps protect trees (see Community involvement).
You can see where the oldest and most important trees are found and record any missing at the ancient tree hunt website.