Surveying the hedgerows on the Golden Cap Estate

This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.

The Golden Cap Estate last had a conservation survey carried out in 1995. One of the recommendations to come from this was to survey our hedgerows - at a casual glance they were seen to be important. We've started this huge task but there's still a lot of ground to cover and we're appealing for volunteers to help.

Acting on the recommendation from this 1995 survey, our volunteer ecologist John Newbould surveyed many of the hedges in 2005-6. These surveys indicated that the hedges have many large and potentially ancient trees. In fact, the area between Filcombe and Golden Cap is a very old landscape dating back to the 16th century.

Getting started

During 2013, our team set a target to create a database of veteran trees for the estate. John provided an Excel spreadsheet with around 80 important trees from Eypes Mouth in the east to Stonebarrow in the west. Using special mapping software, the conservation team mapped the trees from the grid references supplied revealing large gaps where we knew old trees existed but did not appear on the map.

A big job

Last October, John mapped many of the veteran trees and large coppice stools in the 1km square around Filcombe Farm. This recorded a further 120 trees and is probably still incomplete. There is a limit to the number of field boundaries which can be walked in one day. However, this additional survey revealed that a number of the hedges are indeed of considerable conservation value and these also need mapping. We have the required hardware but need bodies on the ground to do the task.

Get involved

We're still in need of volunteers to help John in this time-consuming work. We started in May 2014 with an aim of:

  • mapping as many veteran trees as possible during the season
  • walking with a special GPS unit to measure hedges identified as important

If you enjoy walking, have an interest in ecology or just fancy exploring a special area on the West Dorset coast, we'd welcome your help. We prefer volunteers to work in pairs for safety reasons so it's best if you can bring a friend. Full training will be provided.

For more information and to register your interest, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.