Footpaths and Bridleways.
Bridleways and footpaths are both different types of paths but there is a big difference between them. The difference is a footpath is only for walking on, when it comes to a hedge there will be a style for you to climb over and when there is a ditch there is two small planks of wood to walk over. A bridleway has a much larger (wider) paths than a footpath this is because it is not only for people but for people to ride their horses on so when it comes to a hedge there is not a style there is a gate this is because a horse can't get over a style and when there is a ditch there is a plank of wood but much wider. There is a sign on the styles on the footpaths that tell you which way to go it points to the way you need to go. Sometimes it has the Buckinghamshire sign inside the arrow.
About 150 years ago people had to drink from the ponds in the farmers fields because they had no other water supplies, this stopped just after the second world war. The pond water was shared with the animals and was in the middle of four fields. The farmer would dig a deep hole and the mud that was dug up would be used as a mound around the pond. He would then fill it up with water that would be the water supplies for four of his fields instead of buying four troughs for the fields.
The fields around Doddershall Woods are part of a Sensitive Environmental Area and this sort of land looks like there is a lot of it but it is very rare and it is getting smaller. So the farmer who owns it has to look after it and you're not allowed to do what you want on it (grow what you want on it) and grow grasses. But this isn't normal grass, there are over ten different kinds and you can find ten without looking very hard. To look after these fields the farmer has to not cut the grass until June so that the grass will grow back and grow well for the spring. When the farmer cuts the grass down in June he plants more seeds and the hedges around the field were planted by the farmer as well. The farmer is paid for doing this if it is done properly.
This area did have trees but they have trees they've all been cut down we can prove that because it belongs to the village of Grendon Underwood and it was called it because the land of Grendon was all under a wood. The wood was a home to the animals and people used it for hunting either for a sport or for meat. So the wild animals need a new home to protect them from predators, which is where there is hedges around the fields (for the wild animals) for the replacement for the wood. The hedges are animal's corridors as they can run round all the edges of the fields.
The farmers only cut the top part of the hedge off so that it grows bushier so that the barriers are more protective. The farmer usually has hedges with thorns on instead of barbed wire this is because barbwire cost more than hedges. Hedges with thorns on are like nature's barbwire.
The barbwire is only used to block gaps up in the hedge. Some farmers use weed killers to kill the grasses and other plants off, this is so they can plant and grow one type of plant e.g. Lavender, rape etc. This is not good for the wildlife and if you live by it and you don't like it it's not good for you its only good for the farmer.
There are three stages of succession:
Stage 1: There is loads of sunlight as there are no trees and the floor is covered in beautiful plants and flowers from about 5/70 cm. But you may find flat areas of grass where it has been trampled over by people and wild animals. The plants are growing well because there is loads of light because with out the light the plants would be dead because they need the light to make the food.
Stage 2: The ground is almost covered like stage 1but not quite this is because there are a few trees blocking the light. But where there is light are some plants and some small hazel trees the plants have a height from 30cm up and the average and the average of a small hazel would be 1.60m and eventually these small Hazels will grow taller and block all the sunlight and kill off all the other plants.
Stage 3: It's a battle for light and there are no plants on the ground as the trees have blocked out all the light. There are only a few plants on the ground and they are mostly blue bells. Some plants such as suckle and ivy kills other plants by wrapping themselves around them. Oak is also a killer because it is the best well known for blocking light and can live for about 1000 years but sometimes they're blown over in a gale. Unlike other flowers, bluebells flower in the winter.
This is because in the winter and the autumn all the trees loose there leaves and the light will shine on the blue bells so they can flower so it helps them survive all year round. When the woods of the trees die the wood rots and goes really soft. Also the stage 3 is full off death and decay. Only the taller trees survive because they block of all the light and can reach it so they can make their food. Most of the wildlife live in stage 3 because they feel more protected underneath the tree. The animals are deer, muncjac deer, rabbits, hares, squirrels and birds etc.
The plants are both rare and common and the flowers look especially beautiful. The trees are mature British wood and are mostly found growing in stage 3 or small ones in stage 2