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Why are we planting trees along Public Rights of Way?

The Grower is based on our family farm, in St Agnes. The farm is custodian of over 20km of hedgerows which we have committed to enhance and extend as part of our Pledge to Nature with the Cornwall and Isle of Scilly Local Nature Partnership (Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership ( As part of this commitment we are prioritising the areas around the 1.5km of Public Rights of Way (PRoWs) we manage and the 1.5km of the new Saints Way Trail which runs through the middle of our ‘home farm’. 

Our legal responsibility is “to control and cut back side growth and overhanging and overhead vegetation to ensure the use of public rights of way is not impeded or inhibited.” Ensuring the public can continue to use these paths. However, we're doing more than that.  As part of maintaining the PRoWs on our land, we are managing hedges, grassland, trees, stiles and gateways, together with signage. Our commitment to working in and with the local community is very important to us, so we're not just putting up way-markers and direction signs, but also information signage, illustrating to users the  wildlife and landscape they can see around them. This is particularly important as some of the paths on our land form part of the historic Saints’ Way Trail

This is part of the Saints Way Trail on Presingoll Farm

Planting trees brings many benefits

We're planting more trees including Hawthorn, Crab Apple, Wild Plum, Oak, Beech, Blackthorn, Field Maple, Sycamore, which bring a variety of benefits to the footpaths and landscape enjoyed by our local community. The benefits of tree planting includes:

  1. Increased wildlife habitats in the area;  meaning a greater variety of species can make their homes, or find their food, along our PRoWs.  This includes moths, birds, bats, lizards, dormice, butterflies, and fungi who all benefit from trees. 

  2. Improved air quality; Trees remove carbon from the atmosphere, but they also sequester it – absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and then locking it up for centuries. 

  3. Flood mitigation; Trees reduce the amount of rainwater entering watercourses, slowing the conveyance of water, which in turn lowers the likelihood of flooding low-lying areas.

  4. Health and wellbeing; Trees have been proven to improve our physical and mental health in so many ways. Keeping our atmosphere rich in oxygen, they also filter pollutants from the air, provide shade when it’s hot and even improve our immunity. Trees can also offer relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  5. Food production; Trees and farming have historically gone hand in hand. Trees shelter livestock from our increasingly wild weather, particularly on the North Coast of Cornwall, and offer them shady spots for respite from heatwaves. Trees also improve soil health and prevent soil erosion, with those near watercourses helping to protect waterbodies from possible farm run-off.

  6. Urban green space; Trees can reduce both outdoor and indoor pollution by an incredible 50%. With urban communities disproportionately affected by pollution-related sickness and deaths, we agree incorporating more trees and woods into urban areas and close to residential areas in our rural location is important.

More of the Saints Way Trail on our land

Talking to the public

We've discovered that, while most people are happy to respect their local environment, there are a few who are not, and others who are damaging the area by accident. So we're talking to people, and raising awareness of countryside good practice, through our social media, and local events. Key areas we are trying to highlight are:

  1. Follow the countryside code;  It’s important to leave the countryside as you found it – that means no litter, especially no fly tipping – and picking up after your dog. In some areas, we have food crops, so allowing your dog to foul among our cauliflowers is quite disgusting for our workers, and the people who purchase the cauliflowers to eat as well! 

  2. Please follow the footpath;  'Paths of desire' are shortcuts that people take, cutting a corner in a field, or taking a more direct route. Every person who walks along the alternative path damages the crops growing there, and if enough people follow these new paths, the ground gets compacted until nothing can grow there, reducing the growing land in the field. 

  3. Increase in anti-social behaviour; Unfortunately, we've seen an increase in anti-social behaviour towards our staff. This is never acceptable, so we're hoping to educate local walkers and holidaymakers about what we do and why we do it to promote greater understanding and awareness of our work.  

  4. Help us be biosecure; Many people locally will still remember the Foot and Mouth epidemic, where paths were closed to protect the livestock. That need to protect hasn’t gone away, just changed focus. ‘Biosecurity’ is the prevention of the spread of disease, pests, fungi spores and invasive seeds by people and animals, and on vehicles and equipment. We have to be careful to protect our stock, and crops, and we need the help of everyone who walks along our paths to do so. 

A restored hedgerow, in flower, alongside a footpath


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