At Moor Barton Wilding, edge habitat is formed where wood pasture meets rides and trails, closed canopy woodland meets open glades, conifer meets shrub, wetlands meet coppice and more.
As permaculture teaches, edge environment is often the most diverse of all habitats. It provides short grass for adders, thatch for voles and nesting spots at ankle, knee and waist height.
The edge is where different heights and structures of vegetation meet. Good edge environment is exactly what is missing in most of the UK. Across the UK’s landscape today, forestry and agricultural monocultures offer only acres of unchanging and monotonous heights of vegetation and little structural diversity. Historically, the British landscape was grazed by a variety of herbivores with very different grazing patterns and habits. This diversity of grazing created a mosaic of heights and structures within the woodland, sward and scrub which allowed a diversity of life to flourish.
At Moor Barton Wilding, we are experimenting with different stock levels and grazing pressures in order to find the place of grace where we are creating a maximum number of edge environments. It’s a delicate art and science and, at times, we need to get out the chainsaws and tractor to maintain these diverse edge environments.