Oakbank News

Latest News

September E-News

ELS SEPTEMBER 

Hedgerow management (EB1/2/3 and EB8/9/10) - you can now cut your hedges. Remember you can only cut half the length of hedgerows in any one year (or a third under EB3 and EB10).

Ditch management (EB6/7/8/9/10) - from 15th September you can cut vegetation on ditch banks and the bottom of the ditch BUT only half the length of bank or bottom of the ditch can be cut in any one year.

From 15th September you may also clean half your ditches (but no more than once during the 5-years of the agreement). The spoil should not be spread on existing ELS buffer strips/field corners.

Buffer strips and field corner management with wild flowers (EE12) – if you have included some wild flowers in your buffer strips or field corners you should cut the whole area to 10cm high before 30th September and remove the cuttings.

Management of woodland edges (EC4) – you can trim up to a third of the shrubby growth before end of February 2014.

Nectar flower mixes (EF4) – between 15th September and 31st October the whole area of EF4 should be cut to a height of 10cm and cuttings should be removed or shredded.

Over-winter stubbles (EF6 and EF22) – you have until the end of September to lightly cultivate the surface to stimulate weed/volunteer growth.

Winter cover crops (EJ13) – you have until 15th September to establish a winter cover crop.

MID-TIER CS

Hedgerow management (BE3) – hedge cutting ok but only a third of the hedgerow length. If you have gone for the two-year cutting regime then you cannot cut until 1st January; Nectar flower mix (AB1) – can be grazed from the 1st September and the entire area must be cut between 15th September and 30th March, removing or shredding cuttings; Cultivated areas for arable plants (AB11) – can be cultivated from 1st September; Two-year sown legume fallow (AB15) and Autumn sown bumblebird mix (AB16) – should be sown by 7th September; Woodland edges on arable land (WD3) – can be cut to maintain scrub and grass mosaic and to control injurious weeds (no more than one –third cut in any one year)

Autumn Sown wild bird mixes – these are becoming ever more popular, particularly on heavy land which tends to work better in the autumn. They deliver good brood rearing habitat in the first and second springs as well as wonderful cover and food in the second winter.  We supply a range of autumn sown mixes as well as bespoke mixes so please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Chalara ash dieback and public safety – The effects of Chalara ash dieback are now beginning to take hold across the UK and trees of all ages are now beginning to show signs of decline and dying.  It is expected that >90% of all ash trees in the UK will succumb to Chalara ash die back which will prove to be a significantly problematic from a woodland management point of view, but the immediate problem is one of dead and dying trees located in public spaces.  Under both civil and criminal law, the owner of land on which a tree stands has responsibilities for the health and safety of those on or near the land and has potential liabilities arising from the falling of a tree or branches from a tree. This duty of care can be discharged by having a system of inspections in place to help control the risk from trees.  Therefore in light of the ash population in the UK in crisis it is important that landowners and managers have a system in place to periodically review their tree stock growing in higher risk areas where they may potentially pose harm such as around buildings, along public roadsides and other PRoW’s for example. 

UK drought conditions and rural grant funded young tree mortality - The prolonged hot and dry weather conditions this summer are causing difficulties for land owners and managers in meeting the requirements of some rural grant and payment schemes. In its August e-alert, the FC explains that it is well aware of this and is exploring how best to support Countryside Stewardship (CS), legacy (WGS, EWGS, FWPS, FWP) and Woodland Carbon Fund agreement holders where their new or established woodlands have been, or are at risk of being, significantly impacted.

Conifer Carbon Sequestration Fact - According to the Woodland Trust, one rotation of half a hectare of conifer forest is, very roughly, able to soak up as much carbon as an average driver generates in an entire lifetime of motoring’. In A New Northern Forest (p.21), a Woodland Trust policy document.

New starter

In a first for Oakbank we have taken on a placement student from Harper Adams University. Sam Kennedy has completed 2 years of his Countryside Management Course and joins us until July 2018 to gain experience in the commercial world. We are sure he will be a great addition to the team and hope he enjoys his time with us!

Job Vacancy

Oakbank needs YOU. If you are looking for a new challenge within the field of conservation then we might have a position for you. We are looking to recruit someone to join our Stewardship and Woodland advisory team, to take on new and existing clients, to plan and deliver new Mid and Higher Tier CS agreements, to assess woodland and prepare woodland management plans and to promote Oakbank’s products and services within the agricultural and country sports sectors.  The role would be based at our offices in Ellington, Cambridgeshire but you would be expected to travel widely to visit clients throughout the UK. A working knowledge of agriculture and some ecological experience is a pre-requisite but most importantly you must be able to present advice and plans to clients that deliver what the client needs, be that for farm wildlife, for woodland, for shooting, for farm economics or indeed for all of the above. You will be joining a growing business and the role will be both busy and interesting.

Country Food Trust

The Country Food Trust (www.thecountryfoodtrust.org ) is keen to hear from any shoots this coming season who are experiencing problems with collection of their game. They are piloting an initiative which aims to connect shoots with their local homeless charities via a participating game dealer/processor. The aim is to provide highly nutritious, low cholesterol, high protein game meat for consumption by those who visit local homeless charities in need of food. There are 14m people in the UK living in food poverty and this is a problem that is growing exponentially. Those who shoot game can help alleviate this crisis which in turn will help to ensure the sustainability of this important component of country life. Interested parties should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.