Biodiversity: The Heugh



The Heugh

The Heugh (how do you pronounce that? Hee’uff!) sits just north of Hadrian’s Wall on the hill between Lanercost and Walton.

The Heugh means ‘ridge’ or ‘spur of land’  perfectly describing this hill-top small-holding, comprising 56 acres of pasture bounded by 20+ acres of semi-ancient ghyll woodland running above the Kingwater River.

What's Been Happening?

In the last couple of years we have been planting more trees, widening the existing woodland, restoring hedges and shelter belts. Our first project started in November 2020 when the children from Lanercost Primary School came to create the first Children’s Forest. Led by Forest School teachers Anna Richardson and Ellie Fuller from Wilder Nature, this project aims to deepen the relationship between children and woodland.

The children spent a day in the woods immersed in educational games and imaginative play before planting three trees each. In the summer 2021 they returned to tend the trees, weeding and straightening stakes, as well as carrying out a survey of bugs and beetles with their magnifying glasses. The second Children’s Forest planting in November 2021 expanded on the first circle of trees, and a return visit for another round of tending is planned for July this year.

Also, in 2021 we trialled a Tiny Forest, the first of its kind to explore the possibility of planting trees without plastic. Roe deer love to eat juicy shoots and strip the succulent bark from young trees when they are most tender — which is why plastic tubes are used. Following a method developed in Japan by Miyawaki, we planted native broad-leaved trees close together (5 trees per square metre) with the view that even if the deer eat 75% of the trees we will still be left with decent cover. We intend to continue this trial annually, tweaking it to see which method works the best.

Alongside tree-planting and learning about regenerative agriculture we host arts events and are taking part in the Hadrian’s Wall 1900 celebration with an exhibition and interactive installation called Division & Connection. This will take place in September 2022.


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