Thank you to all who commented on the state of a local hedge after my blog on Wednesday evening. Opinions seemed to be divided between insect damage, spray drift and some nasty chemical ending up in the ditch at the foot of the hedge.
I went back to the site yesterday evening to have another look and to take some more photographs.
Let me first stress that the affected length of hedgerow is 1.1 miles long – I did say it was a long stretch but this time I measured it. It therefore covers the boundary to several fields.
There is some vegetation growing back from the hedge – but not the hedge itself (and it’s difficult to tell (for me anyway) whether it was mostly blackthorn or hawthorn) – and some of the regrowth has leaves that look odd (Photos 3 & 4).
There is a ditch along much of the foot of the hedgerow (but not quite all of it) but the lowest point topographically is about one third along the stretch which means that there is no way that some pollutant could travel downhill for 2/3 of a mile (I imagine) and then uphill for 1/3 of a mile (or the other way around).
As one drives down the road, 99% of the ‘damage’ is on the same side of the road (and perhaps the other 1% is caused independently anyway). The damage is always worse on the roadside side of the hedge compared with the field-side side of the hedge (see photos 1 & 2 as a pair, and photos 5 & 6 as another pair). Sometimes the field-side is almost as badly ‘damaged’ (Photos 1 & 2) and sometimes it looks completely undamaged (Photos 5 & 6). This creates the very strong impression that whatever caused the ‘damage’ came from the road rather than the field.
Here are some photos: