Our heritage at risk - Hedgerows and the Dacorum Local Plan

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

The word below are based on a great article published originally in the Tring Local History Museum newsletter (with thanks to John Allan) and also a link to an excellent and informative video about the pioneering Hedgerow Project at Watlington (made by Nicola Schafer).


Tring’s hedgerows are important historically as they show us exactly how the land has been owned and used in the past hundreds of years. They are living documents. We would not allow destruction of historical documents in a library. How can we allow the destruction of hedgerows, our precious living documents? And yet miles of Tring's historic hedgerows are at risk of being destroyed. All of the hedges on the "East of Tring" sites, known to many people as Dunsley Farm and all the land on either side of Marshcroft Lane, are earmarked on the Local Plan for potential destruction. Please stop this from happening. Object to DBC before Feb 27th. See below.

Hedges can be dated by a mathematical formula based on the number of woody plants, shrubs, found in a 30metre length of hedge. Each species found represents approximately one hundred years. Since five or six species are regularly found in local hedges, they are likely to be at least 600 years old. How thrilled we would be to have such ancient documents in our Museum. But they are on our doorsteps, if we can preserve and conserve them.

Our hedgerows are also of vital importance to wildlife as they act as essential shelters, wildlife corridors and food sources for creatures and pollinating insects, such as bees, ants, hedgehogs. Hedges have also been used to contain livestock and mark boundaries from early settlements.

Hedgerows can be protected by law - The Hedgerows Regulations Act 1997. The main criteria to give such protection are:

  • More than 30 years old

  • Marking the boundary of a pre-1600 AD estate or manor

  • Recorded at a Record Office as integral part of a field system pre-dating the Inclosure Acts from 1600 onwards

  • A hedgerow containing at least 7 woody species

Hedgerows in East of Tring certainly fulfil one or more of these criteria.

Dunsley Farm ( listed on the Local Plan as "Tr01"):

Known as Dunsley or Dainslai since at least 1080. The Lordship of Dunsley is listed in the Doomsday book in the Manorial Counsel under ID5765, though not for sale!

The Plan p317 acknowledges “The existing and historic field boundary pattern” and “its existing and future potential as a strategic wildlife corridor”, including Cow Lane hedges.

Marshcroft Lane which is shown on early maps to connect with the Roman Icknield Way:

To the North towards New Mill (Tr02) documented from 1655 in Baptist group records.

Marshcroft Lane:To the South (Tr03). It was within Tring Grove Farm which predates 1500. The Farm would have had boundary hedges such as found all along the lane and its connecting hedges. These all contain many species of woody plants, indicating great age.

The Local Plan p320 acknowledges “Well established internal and external hedgerows”.

Please protect Tring’s heritage hedges. Send your objections before Feb 27th. Visit online: Dacorum Local Plan Virtual Exhibition


If you're interested in this topic, it's worth spending a few minutes looking at this great video by the Waltington Climate Action Hedgerow Project

Hopefully we will be able to add our own video, pictures and description of what is at risk in the East of Tring hedgerows soon too.

Thank you Tring in Transition

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