A key part of the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership scheme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is now underway following the publication of a guide to creating and managing pine lines in the Brecks.
This element of the project is managed by Norfolk FWAG, who are working with farmers and landowners to replant 2 km of pine lines, and restore a further 8 km.
Pine lines are the most familiar and iconic feature of the Brecks landscape. They comprise long, straight lines of Scots pines, marching across the landscape, sometimes growing tall and straight but more often contorted into dramatic patterns.
The lines were originally planted as hedges: the young, clipped pines provided a good windbreak for the crops in adjacent fields and survived well in the arid and often acidic soils of the area. A handful of examples are still managed as hedges, but the overwhelming majority have long since been allowed to grow into lines of mature trees.
The guidance booklet was produced in partnership with UEA and is based on a research report by Professor Tom Williamson and the UEA landscape group into the history of this unusual landscape feature. Their research found that most of the pine lines were established in a very short period between 1815 and 1825.
The young trees, which are going to become the pine lines of the future, have just been delivered to Barcham Trees near Ely. This local company is working with Breaking New Ground, to pot up and grow on the trees ready for planting to begin next winter.
Heidi Thompson, who is managing the project for Norfolk FWAG, said “interestingly, Barcham Trees have advised they will be planting the young trees into white pots, not the traditional black pots. White pots help prevent the tree roots growing into a spiral which the tree never breaks out of even when planted out on farmland, and can eventually cause them to blow over when they reach a reasonable height.”
Any landowner interested in restoring or replanting pine lines on their land in the BNG scheme area, should contact Norfolk FWAG to see whether they are eligible for support under Breaking New Ground.