Bristol

An '800-year-old' Bristol hedge is officially recognised

Phoenix Hedge, Bristol
Image caption The ancient boundary is believed to have been planted 800 years ago in Bristol

An ancient hedge found in Bristol and believed to be 800 years old has been officially recognised with a new sign.

The hedge, which runs between Henleaze Park and Phoenix Grove, was identified by local botanist Sylvia Kelly who has been working to save it since 1985.

She said: "We wanted people to know the history of this ancient hedge and to recognise the rich variety of plants and trees."

An interpretation board is due to be officially unveiled on 23 May.

Image caption The hedge was discovered almost 20 years ago

The 295ft (90m) long boundary straddles the Henleaze Junior School playing fields and Golden Hill Sports Ground.

Known as the Phoenix Hedge, it is "reputed to be one of the oldest in England" according to the Henleaze Society.

It was first discovered almost 20 years ago by Ms Kelly, who used the different trees that make up the hedge to date it.

"Each woody tree counts for a century and there are eight woody trees," she said.

"It is a scientific way of dating the hedge."

'Uncertain of owner'

The "woody" species present in the ancient boundary include hawthorn, sloe, blackthorn, ash and spindle.

Spindle, according to Ms Kelly, "only occurs in hedges that are 400 years old".

The hedgerow, which appears on a tithe map of 1841, also formed part of the parish boundary which ran along the original field boundaries.

But according to Tim Clarke, treasurer of the Phoenix Hedge Preservation Society, the hedge is so old it is "uncertain" who actually owns it or the land it grows on.

"The bit of land where the new interpretation panel has been put up is owned by the council," he said.

"The rest of the hedge - it is a bit uncertain who actually owns it.

"But the hedge has been here for 800 years and we want it to continue to be here for another 800 years or more."

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