Who’s looking over our hedge?

Some of you may remember me writing a couple of posts about the land next door, in the grounds of what was the village school,  being sold for development, click here and here if you would like to read  about how I was trying to protect our dormouse habitat. This post is an update on how the building is going.

This is the view taken last August before the building could be seen over the hedge.

This is the view taken last August before the building could be seen over the hedge.

Taken from almost the same spot by the border by the field. I'm hoping that when the leaves are on the trees and shrubs that the house will be hidden.

Taken from almost the same spot by the border by the field. I’m hoping that when the leaves are on the trees and shrubs that the house will be hidden.

The house is absolutely huge. It is supposed to be a 5 bedroom house but seems much larger.

The house is absolutely huge. It is supposed to be a 5 bedroom house but seems much larger.

The house is built as an L shape. The couple that are building it are retired like us, I would hate to do all that hoovering and dusting!

The house is built as an L shape. The couple that are building it are retired like us, I would hate to do all the cleaning that such a huge house will need!

This is the view I will have of it when I am in the fruit and veggie garden, they really couldn't be much closer if they tried!

This is the view I will have of it when I am in the fruit and veggie garden, they really couldn’t be much closer if they tried!

I am now relying on all the trees and shrubs to hide us in the summer. Having got used to being totally private for 23 years except for little planes passing over on their way to Exeter airport, I’m thinking I might have to allow my hedge to grow a bit higher in future.

This is also the hedge that the dormice live in. One day when I was weeding the bog garden, there was a digger working the other side of the hedge ( there is also an overgrown lane between us). I don’t know what he was doing to the Devon Bank that the hedge is on, but the bushes on their side were moving up and down. I’m hoping that the shrubs will be ok, but feel that they will probably die. Doesn’t he know the penalties that he will face if the dormice habitat is destroyed, they are so well protected. The council were told about the dormice each time we objected to an application and I’m sure he would have been there when we gave our three minute talk to the council at the time of his final application.

I think the house is almost finished, they have told us that they want to move in some time in May. This was when he also told me that he has a regular look at my woodland garden each day when he arrives to work on the house, hmmm……maybe I need another hedge on that side too!

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22 Responses to Who’s looking over our hedge?

  1. Jayne says:

    WHile I understand your dismay at the looming monstrosity…I mean lovely big home …as I just lost my unobstructed view of our lovely pond with the building of a monstrosity, there is a new opportunity! Your glorious garden will hopefully influence the new neighbors to treat their property as respectfully as you do yours. You have the opportunity to educate them about the doormice and in the kindest way assure them that their stewardship of the land is even more important than their giant home to the future of our planet!

    • Pauline says:

      Jayne, I feel sorry for the people that have bought the schoolhouse, more houses are planned on the other side of the school, which won’t affect us, but are making them feel hemmed in. Huge houses are being built , with almost no garden to speak of, I just have a sneaky suspicion that they somehow won’t be interested in the plight of the dormice, I’ll just have to wait and see.

  2. rusty duck says:

    Thank goodness for your trees Pauline.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Jessica, I agree totally! I’m just hoping that the fruit and veggies will still get plenty of light, I will find out soon.

  3. Sally says:

    Pauline, I am so empathizing with your situation! If you go to my post “collectables” which is fairly new, you will see a pic of our new neighbors home. We’ve been here for 37yrs and it’s off the beaten path and was quiet. When they cleared the lad to build onm, they knocked a tree down that a hawk had been nesting in for years……I’m sure she had babies……she flew around the neighborhood crying for days. Like you, I’m hoping foliage will block my view of them.
    Your new neighborhood home looks like it’s literally “looming” over your property! I do wish you the best and hope you can come up with some creative ways to Keep it out of your view.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message Sally. I was so sorry to read about your new neighbours and their cavalier attitude to the hawk nesting in the tree. When you have lived somewhere for a long time in peace and quiet and chose your house for those reasons, then it is understandably galling when someone moves in nearby to change it all.
      I’m hoping we might be private again by summer, or I might have to think about more planting on top of the bank.
      I tried to go to your blog but unfortunately wasn’t able to visit it.

  4. Kate says:


    I’ve got a building site next to part of my garden too – but the houses will be lower down the hill and partly blocked by my Portugal Laurel, fortunately an evergreen. But we did have to clear some overhanging branches, though I fought off queries about removing trees all together. Everything seems to have ground to a halt – I think someone dobbed the developer in to the national park. He’s not got planning permission yet…

    Good luck, and best wishes for when they move in. Poor dormice…

    • Pauline says:

      Kate, I’m glad someone else has laurel forming their privacy, I always thought there was a use for it!
      It amazes me that the first thing people think of when planning to build houses is that trees should come down, I’m so pleased to hear that you still have yours!
      Hopefully the dormice will still have plenty of habitat left on our side of the lane and in the rest of our garden.

  5. I didn’t think they built houses like this in England only in America where we call them McMansions. Are they into gardening? Maybe they could plant things too. Loom is the word for it. Sorry I haven’t been around.

    • Pauline says:

      Originally Carolyn, there wasn’t any garden allowed for the house, can you believe it!,but the owners have bought what was half of the school playing field. I will find out if they are into gardening and try to influence them into planting something wildlife friendly along the hedge.
      I hope your cold weather has finally gone, it must be so frustrating for someone as keen as you, if the weather is stopping you from gardening. I’ve missed your posts!

  6. debsgarden says:

    At first I thought it was an apartment building until you said it was a house. I had to re-read to realize it really was a single house. For two people? You may have to plant some taller trees! I hope your little dormice survive. My own neighbor built an enormous workshop, taller than his own two-story house, nine feet from our property line some years ago. I was heartbroken, as it completely obstructed our view of rolling pastureland. I planted a screen of mostly evergreen trees, and now they finally block our view of the side of his unattractive building. But I still miss the view we once had.

    • Pauline says:

      Deb, I can assure you it is just one house for 2 people to rattle around in! I think it could maybe divided into 2 in the future, but we don’t know if this is their intention. The only problem with planting taller trees is that up at the top of our garden is where we grow our fruit and veg and I really don’t want more shade in that area! Sorry you lost your view due to your neighbour, it would seem that buildings take precedence over views and privacy the world over.

  7. Chloris says:

    How awful for you. Let’s hope that summer will give you some privacy. My goodness the house is huge.
    It is awful to lose the feeling of total privacy in you own world. We lost a huge willow last year and suddenly found that a neighbour’s bedroom windows overlooked our orchard. We were totally hidden by the tree before. It somehow spoils it rather, even though I don’t suppose they spend all day at the window gazing in.
    I hope your dormice will be alright. How delightful to have them.

    • Pauline says:

      The leaves are starting to come on the hedge now Chloris, I’m just hoping that the hedge will be tall enough to give us some privacy back. How sad that you lost a huge willow, that must have left a big gap in your garden, almost like losing an old friend.
      It is wonderful to find that we have dormice, I feel that they have given the seal of approval to the way I garden for wildlife!

  8. Helle (Helen) says:

    If one lives in a house that huge I’m sure one has a cleaner come in ;-)) – but I agree, I’d not want to have to clean that place. Apart from that, I do commiserate with you and can definitely understand your not wanting to have more shade on your veggie patch. Surely it’s up to the authorities to protect the dormice, considering how often you have mentioned them. I don’t believe one can really rely on people’s goodwill, where we live I see how everything is rooted up, sprayed over and generally gotten rid of so that people have “a nice clean garden”, birds, hedgehogs or bees and butterflies don’t seem to matter. Sorry, didn’t mean to rant, but it’s a topic dear to me and I sometimes despair at people’s general disinterest.

    • Pauline says:

      Of course, Helle, I’d forgotten about the cleaning lady!! The authorities will protect the dormice, but they will only know if we tell them, somehow I’m going to have to find a tactful way of explaining to the new neighbours that they must leave the trees and hedges alone. I’m amazed at the wildlife that we now have living in the garden, there was almost none when we arrived 23 yrs ago. You weren’t ranting Helle, just passionate like I am, trying to do our best for the wildlife that lives along side us.

  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Oh Pauline, I’m so sorry. Once your trees leaf out, your view will be restored. Perhaps the new owners would be amenable to planting fast growing evergreens on their side of the property. It was news to me that in your land of gardens, a country home would be built without space for a garden. McMansions are popping up here and in Canada which are built to the very edges of the property line with no space whatever for enjoyment of the out of doors. I guess nature is now becoming a place that one visits rather than the place in which we all live.

    • Pauline says:

      Each day gets better Peter, as the leaves open up, I will just have to be patient! New houses here seem to be getting built with smaller and smaller gardens, people just don’t seem to want them or have the time to look after them unfortunately. The school playing field is on what we call Green Belt, which means that no buildings can be put on it or theoretically turn it into a garden, but somehow the local council have passed half of it becoming the garden to the house over the hedge. We have so much nature in the garden here, all since we have planted a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs, maybe next door will do the same!

  10. Caro says:

    I think you’ve just given an argument in support Cupressus leylandii !! I thought the development was a hotel – fancy building something that big with no garden – monstrous! And it seems awfully close to your own property, I’m surprised that was allowed. Where I live in N London is a designated Conservation Area which means that developers can be blocked from building above the existing roofline and the Council planners have to refer to the Conservation group before they give the go-ahead. Doesn’t always work but it does go a long way to preserving the character of an area. What a pity your area isn’t the same – if only for the little dormice. So sad if they’re lost!

    • Pauline says:

      Oh no Caro, not Leylandii! Fortunately our garden is on the large size so the building isn’t near our house thank goodness. Would you believe, when we went to voice our protest at the final planning meeting we were told by one of the councillors that “we should feel honoured to have such a beautiful house built next to us”! I’m hoping the dormice are still with us, or will they have moved with all the noise that we’ve had to put up with over the last 12 months!

  11. Christina says:

    Like Caro, I thought it was a hotel. I think your trees will hide it in summer very well; Let’s just hope they’re not noisy.

    • Pauline says:

      Our new neighbours are retired like us, so hopefully they won’t make much noise, although the building work has made such a noise, all day, every day so far. Last year, we never once ate in the garden, even though we had lovely weather for a couple of months, the noise was just so awful. With them building the house themselves, they were even busy at weekends.

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