I am very fortunate in where I live, all around the village are footpaths and green lanes offering some wonderful walking right here on my doorstep. The are all different and a continuing source of discovery. Green Lanes are man made corridors between equally man made habitats.
I was wondering why so many footpaths appear to be sunken, many very deep and apparently through rock. It seems that a common reason for this was the practice of throwing manure found on the path on to the hedges and trees at the sides. As the hedgerows flourished, the lane sank even more. It is these very trees and hedgerows that protect the biodiversity of the lane producing a unique micro climate.
The corridor acts as a transportation route for the dispersal of seeds, berries and fruit as wildlife and humans travel along it. Although numbers vary from district to district, in most hedgerows around half of our native British mammals can be found. Plant varieties often number around 600 and 65 different bird species have been recorded along with a staggering 1500 species of insect! If a lane also has a stone wall, a whole new range of species will have moved in as well. They say that by counting the number of trees of the hardwood species on one side of a 30 metre stretch of hedgerow you can convert this number into hundreds and this is how old the hedge is. So take your time next time you walk one of these lanes I would love to know what you discover.