Viscious, nasty, horrid hawthorn.
I was very excited to find this plant on the property originally because it was likely planted by early settlers in an attempt to create boundaries. Most of the hawthorn has been found along the two stone walls that bound the property. Likely these walls were topped with Hawthorn hedges, a common practice in English agriculture prior to the advent of barbed-wire. Hawthorn hedges were as ubiquitous in their day as barbed wire is now.
The barbs on hawthorn can be up to 2 inches in length, and cut you just as badly as any barbed-wire. Its really vicious stuff, and my chickens have figured out that I can’t put them to bed for the night if they are hiding under the hawthorn tree in front of the house.
The traditional use of hawthorn is to create fencing from it. The cost-benefit of definitely favours barbed-wire which is significantly easier to maintain and repair. Farmers were happy to do away with hedges, and replace them with something more controllable and reliable. Hawthorn hedges, while nice will not likely be featured on our property as they will require to great an effort to create and maintain.