Nethercote is a hamlet on the edge of North Oxfordshire, a rural area bordering with West Northamptonshire. An area of approximately 165 acres, predominantly agricultural land used for grazing. A single-track road runs right through the hamlet, known as Banbury Lane, which has around a dozen residential properties along the land. The small, winding, quaint lane has hedgerow running adjacent on both sides, providing natural habitat for the abundance of wildlife and birds present. In places the hedgerow is believed to date back to medieval times, when Nethercote was fundamentally involved in the production of the once famous Banbury Cheese.
Nethercote is significant to the history of Banbury and local agriculture alike; creates an important and tranquil green space on the edge of of the county; provides an accessible green space for the nearby villages and town and is rich in wildlife including rare species. Many people use Banbury Lane, hikers, dog walkers, cyclists and our group seek to improve and enhance the biodiversity that is present.
Our first project has been a stretch of hedgerow that borders Banbury Lane and residential land. This stretch is 100s of years old and lack of management has meant that the hedgerow has grown out and become gappy. The aim of the project is to retain the irreplaceable ecosystem provided by a hedgerow that is hundreds of years old, whilst retaining the habitat that is provided for the wildlife during the rejuvenation process. In order to achieve this, a new row of hedging plants is to be planted within 50cm of the existing hedgerow and in a year or so once this is established, the existing plants can start to be managed, using a combination of coppicing, pruning and potentially laying techniques
In March 2023 with some enthusiastic volunteers we were able to plant 165 saplings, provided by Woodland Trust, to start the rejuvenation process. We split the project into two parts, having a day for clearing of the site and pruning in order to ensure plenty of light for the new saplings. This worked really well as it meant on planting day we could get straight on with the planting, enabling us to get the saplings planted in a matter of hours