How to Date a Hedge

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by CL1, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    “Hooper’s Law” gives us a way to estimate the age of a hedgerow (Max Hooper is a scientist who studied and wrote about hedgerows and biodiversity.)

    The simplest method is to count the number of species of tree or shrub found in a 100 ft length of hedge. This number (averaged over three or more sample stretches) multiplied by 100 gives a rough estimate of the age of the hedge. So a hedge with an average of five woody species might be tentatively dated to the 16thcentury. (There are more complicated versions, but they give similar results).
    How to date a hedge
    SteveDee and Chris C like this.
  2. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Wait...does this mean my conifer hedge is 100 years old?
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    A quick glance at this thread title and I immediately assumed that Hedge was a new Brit nickname for a female of disrepute.
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Now we know how your mind works o_O:wacko::rolleyes::unsure::whistle:

    canuck likes this.
  5. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    I thought maybe start by buying it a drink?
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    That wont work ----------- its treetotal :lol::lol::lol::lol:

  7. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    I thought it had got trunk before
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  8. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    In a previous incarnation as a teacher of Countryside Management, I've applied Hooper's Law many times with students - it's obviously not 100% accurate, but where I've been able to cross-reference it to other ecological, historical and documentary evidence, it can be surprisingly effective as a rule of thumb! Hedgerows are important in terms drawing down agriculture subsidies, and are sometimes condition-assessed to that end; when working as an ecological surveyor I've often included Hooper's technique where I thought it was instructive.
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  9. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    You could take your date, Hedge, into a secluded meadow and then date the meadow with him/her. Take a bottle of cider with you.

    Make sure you choose the correct buttercup, creeping buttercup plants (Ranunculus repens), else it will not work so well, you get a much lower age.

    Buttercups reveal age of meadow - Aberystwyth University

    (taking a break to read books, Polish military & crypto books, etc - translated of course, I have problems reading English)

    ps my record for Hooper's law is about 12 species, although in a slightly longer hedge, on one side of a meadow, along a very narrow lane.
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  10. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Thanks CL1 for the original post, it's a subject I'm still very interested in, and one which is a closed book to more people than it should be!

    Thanks Geoff for that R. repens link, too - "elegant low-tech science" is a good description of the ecological surveying of Countryside Managers! The rest of it is largely muddy grunt-work, mind you. 12 hedgerow spp is a proper good 'un! I got 11 from a hedge which might well be pre-Conquest in origin, and for which I had pretty good corroborating sources by the standards of the genre - needless to say, this became the first hedge I let students loose on in subsequent years, in order to establish Hooper's authority (and, vicariously, my own - though it never lasted).

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