Valuing Hedgerows Workshop

The Dartmoor Hill Farm Project has organsised a Valuing Hedgerows Workshop in Scorriton next week. Click below for details.

Hedgerows Event – 6th February

This coincides with a two day hedge laying course at the same venue on the 5th and 6th. There is one place left as this goes to press…



Hedge steeping course

From Jeremy Weiss

All our DRST hedge laying courses are now fully booked but if you want to learn hedgelaying I am running a two day course at Trill Farm near Axminster in February. There are only six places available on this course. Full details are here:


Felling licences

From Kate Tobin of the Forestry Commision

Felling Licence Online

We have replaced our old felling licence processing system with a new digital service called Felling Licence Online. Using this new service you can apply for, track and print felling licences for land in your ownership or authorise an agent to do so on your behalf. If you are an agent you can manage applications for all of your clients in one place and keep track of progress. You log into the system, upload your details and that of your holding(s) and the information will be stored, making it much faster to apply next time and quicker to process at our end too. There is a summary in the attached PDF or more detailed guidance if you follow the link above.



Felling Regulations

We have started the year with a flurry of site inspections where people have reported felling of trees over the holiday period. Some of these turn out to be less than the legal threshold and therefore fine, but many are over the threshold and have occurred due to a lack of knowledge or even deliberate flouting of the law. The law dates back to 1967 and is there to ensure that woodlands and hedgerows are sustainably managed for the long term, protecting against their loss.


A felling licence is required by law if you fell more than 5m³ in one calendar quarter. If you are selling the wood – for logs, for example – then you can only fell 2m³ in a calendar quarter. This applies to trees in hedges as well as woodlands. There are some exemptions and more detail to the law, so please visit the Tree Felling: overview page on for a reminder on the regulations.


An FC-approved woodland management plan can include a 10 year felling licence to carry out the operations agreed in your plan. We would strongly recommend that follow this option if you are going to be working your woodland regularly. You can find out more about creating a management plan and applying for a grant on our website.


Agri-environment agreements

If you are a landowner with an agri-environment agreement, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that you may also need a felling licence for any work detailed in the agreement. The grant agreement does not give you an automatic right to fell. It’s really important that, where necessary, you apply for a felling licence, even for coppicing or felling in hedges. This is to ensure sustainable woodland management and habitat protection. All agents and contractors should be aware of this but it’s the responsibility of the landowner to ensure that all laws are complied with, so it’s important to get good advice and know the law yourself.


Countryside Stewardship agreements which support the conversion of woodland to an open habitat (eg heathland, culm grassland) may also be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations so please use the guidance in this link to check the thresholds and make sure you’re staying within the law.



Always check if there any Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) or Conservation Areas covering the trees when you apply for a felling licence. At the point of application you have to declare if there are any TPOs on the trees and getting this wrong – deliberately or otherwise – can lead to a prosecution. You can often check this on your local authority’s planning portal, but if not you may need to email them a map to check.



Change of email address

A final reminder that all our email addresses have now changed and the old ones will not work for much longer. Forest Services staff have become and Forest Enterprise staff have become Please amend any contact lists you have for us accordingly.


Remember also that you can sign up for national FC grants and regulations emails, giving upcoming grant windows, on



100 years of forestry 1919 – 2019

We thought you might enjoy the attached photo of a vintage Forestry Commission van, to celebrate the start of our centenary year. If you have any early photos of forestry work in the South West, or any rare artefacts at the back of a barn, do let us know and we’d love to record and share them with others this year. Alternatively, share pictures or stories yourself on Twitter using #forests100. If you want to find out more about what the Forestry Commission will be doing to celebrate the centenary nationally, please look at our website:

Hedge course at Druidstone

By Chris Baker

Another seriously good-looking hedge, this one at Druid’s Cross, near Ashburton. Twenty people attended Saturday’s course and turned about 50 yards of heavily-flailed hedge into a beauty. A lot of hazel and field maple, some hawthorn and dog rose, with a little bit of beech thrown in. The weather was cool but dry early on, turning to heavy mizzle during the afternoon – so a wet(ish) one! Pictured: Garry, Luke and Steven with their exquisite bit of work, Jonathan putting the steepers in, Nick wielding an axe, and Ryan busy in the rain. Mick G took the tools home and dried them all off over a nice cuppa.

Places are being booked very far ahead at the moment so the next hedgelaying course with spaces available is not until 5th of January 2019.



Hedgesteeping Competition

By Chris Baker


Storm Callum’s last gasp threatened but did not deliver and our annual hedge-laying competition was a winner. There were a few showers and a few gusts of wind at East Fingle Farm, Drewsteignton, but the worst of the weather came just before and just afterwards. About 200 yards of hedge was laid in the novice, intermediate, and in the top-end open classes, and each competitor’s section proved to be a class act.

The results:

1st Colin Clutterbuck
2nd Terry Coombe
3rd Colin Risden

1st Dave Brackley
2nd Malcolm Dowling
3rd Gary Moore

1st Mark Joynes
2nd Richard Clayson
3rd Alex Clayson

Ladies Cup: Tina Bath

Jack Connabeer Cup: Chris Stanton

Competitors in Saturday’s event came from as far away as Brighton and the Forest of Dean, as well as Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset – thanks for coming and thanks for a fabulous hedge. Thanks too to farmer Louise for making the facility available, it was great to hold the competition at such a well-maintained farm. Thanks also to Don, who did the lion’s share of the organising. Catch-up with Don’s interview on BBC Radio Devon’s Breakfast Show on Saturday morning at: (at about 69 minutes). We must be doing something right, the running order for Radio Devon’s 8 ‘o’ clock news bulletin on competition day had DRST ahead of Strictly.

DRST Hedge Steeping Competition

Just a quick reminder that this Saturday 13th of October is the DRST Hedge Steeping Competition! The competition finishes at 2:30pm to allow time for the judges to assess the hedges. This is then followed by the prize giving.

It is at East Fingle Farm, Drewsteignton, EX6 6NJ.

Sorry, no dogs as there will be sheep in the fields.
If you are a competitor entering the Open or Intermediate Classes we suggest you bring a crowbar or metal spike to make holes for crooks as the ground is very hard. Ladders not required this year
Best wishes from Don Gaskins


Two day hedge steeping course

Due to a last minute cancellation the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project have a space available on their two day hedge laying course on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of September (this week!). The course is instructed by DRST instructor Jeremy Weiss and is at Scorriton. Contact David Attwell for details: 01822 890912 or Jeremy Weiss on: 07962 432317.

The next DRST hedge course with spaces available is on the 3rd of November.