Trees, Hedges and Woodland
Last updated: 08/01/2014
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Cornwall's landscape is of national and international importance as
well as being vitally important to the local economy. Twenty-seven
per cent of the County is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty (AONB) and a further 24% as Area of Great Landscape Value
(AGLV). The landscape is formed from a combination of climate,
geology, natural features and human activity. The landscape has
been described through the Cornwall Landscape Characterisation
Project and under Historic Landscape Characterisation on the
Landscape Survey and Assessment page. These
are useful resources for understanding our landscape.
Although a relatively poorly wooded county (7.5% compared with
the national average of 8.4%) trees and woodlands are an important
component of the landscape. Whether they be ancient estuarine oak
woodlands, the windswept hedgerow trees lining our winding country
lanes or the specimen trees in our parks and gardens, all trees and
woodlands help define our sense of place as well as supporting a
wide range of species.
Our towns and city have varied characters that
reflect their topography, climate and history. Trees and
shrubs make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing
of people. Trees are frequently the largest of our natural
features that benefit urban places in terms of landscape
improvement, biodiversity and other ecosystem
Other important features of the Cornish landscape are the
Cornish hedges that divide the fields, and line our lanes and
roads, and the traditional orchards. Many hedges are of great
antiquity and wildlife value with their great variety often
defining a location.
In residential areas domestic hedgerows can occassionally cause
distress to neighbours because of their size and advice is given in
these pages to assist.
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the
management of traditional orchards as well as the conservation of
our old local fruit varieties.
Cornwall's landscape is highly managed and some practices or
changes in management regimes have had unfortunate side effects.
Our increased interest in gardening and exotic plants over the last
200 years has led to a great number of introduced species and
cultivars. Many have made Cornish gardens the envy of the world,
however, some have made themselves at home and have become highly
invasive, spreading over the garden hedge and into the countryside,
displacing our natural flora. Cornwall is currently pioneering work
in the control of invasive alien weeds such as Japanese knotweed.
There are also a few problem native invasive weeds such as common
Ragwort which require careful and co-ordinated management to limit
Frequently Asked Questions