Fencing a covenant is a high capital investment for both the covenantor and QEII. As well as ensuring a fence is carefully planned and placed, it is essential the fencing is cost-effective.
Much has been said, but little written, about the best way to protect covenant areas from livestock entry. With an increasing number of covenants owned by people with little farming experience, this is an attempt to get ideas down for others to consider or try.
This article is the first in a series discussing the best and most economical ways to fence covenant areas.
QEII Trust has two key principles for fencing of forest remnants and other protected vegetation.
The fence must secure the covenant area from livestock intrusion. This is essential to allow natural regeneration and prevent browsing, trampling, pugging or weed introduction.
While some may argue that there is regeneration in their 'grazed forest', careful investigation will show the lack of diversity, particularly palatable species that are preferred by livestock.
Photos below: Two examples of ineffective fencing in need of repair.
Photos below: Two examples of diverse regeneration behind a good quality stock-proof fence.
The preferred fence type is the norm for the farm and one which the owner is willing to maintain (as required by the covenant document). QEII Trust doesn't impose fences that are not wanted by landowners.
This is the most commonly used fence for securing a forest remnant from sheep and cattle. It would consist of 7 (maybe 8) 12½ gauge wires; top wire at 1150mm; and 1.8m x 100-125mm tanalised wooden posts (round or half round) with 4-5m spacing between them.
Photo below: As the forest matures, a battened fence can become harder to maintain if branches or trees fall over it.
Points to note:
Open SpaceTM Magazine No. 50, December 2000 © QEII National Trust