Furzehill Farm Garden is a wildlife garden, we try to plant, manage and grow so that a broad range of wildlife is not just attracted but nurtured by our plot. For many years I have been keen to improve the suitability of our three small fields for wildlife so that they work alongside the garden as a reservoir of wildlife diversity and sustainability. We have been held back by lack of resources (money). Some of the work needed, primarily fencing is costly and beyond our means. The good news is that thanks to the New Forest National Park’s Better Boundaries Project we should be able to get the fencing done and other important work as well.

Neglected Field hedge

Old field hedge heavily browsed by deer and in need of remedial work.

The fencing is needed to keep the Deer out of our property. Deer numbers in our area are way in excess of what is natural or normal. In Heywood Sumner’s day it was remarkable to see a dozen Fallow together, these days groups of 50 are not unusual and I have seen 90 or more in one of our fields in one group. Such high numbers destroy hedges, suppress regeneration and prevent regrowth of understory. Fencing is essential to allow thick hedges, dense scrub and scrub regeneration to proceed as part of our plan to get wildlife back to our smallholding.

There was a trend in the 1950’s and 60’s to enlarge fields by hedge removal. Our holding lost two field hedges during that period, you can still see evidence of where they were. As part of the Better Boundaries project we hope to replant those hedges to greatly enhance the food source of Birds and Insects and also to strengthen the protective ‘corridor’ effect that hedges give to small creatures.

We have entered the Better Boundaries project part way through it’s course so time is of the essence, we hope to have the bulk of the work completed by the end of this Winter, some work may have to wait until the following Winter.

As work gets under way I’ll post here to explain what is being done and describe the benefits we anticipate.