National Hedgerow Week stretches from 6th May to 12th May 2024

Image copyright Annie Spratt

National Hedgerow Week in 2024 is all about Connectivity.

We often see hedgerows perhaps this way driving past them in the car or walking the dog, but how often do we appreciate how important they are to the British countryside and its wildlife.  I think of hedgerows as nature's motorways, one being connected to another and shaping our landscape with all the thousands of miles of hedge.

RSPB The UK’s hedgerows (all 95,000 miles of them!) are a critical habitat, supporting up to 130 of our priority species throughout the seas


The Dunnock, House and Tree Sparrows, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Cirl bunting and turtle dove all love our hedges.  But in the last 50 years we've lost about half of our hedgerows. There are tremendous efforts underway to reverse this loss for the wellbeing of both people and wildlife.  One of the things that's been happening is that so many people are now planting fences instead of hedges perhaps on the basis that they think fences need less maintenance.  But ask yourself:  how well do fences stand up to strong winds, and what sort of a home do they give wildlife?

Hedgerows help wildlife survive and thrive

Our hedges give wildlife an incredible network of routes, if you like.   We can imagine a little hedgehog scurrying along a hedge on his nightly journey, or a bird laying eggs, nesting and resting in the safety of the thick of the hedge. Many hedges provide food for wildlife and also for ourselves. Think back to the last time you experience the joy of picking blackberries, gathering them in a jar or box, and taking them home to make a blackberry pie with.

Hedgerows benefit everyone

The Campaign for Rural England has a campaign for hedgerows and they have LOTS of information about them, so please connect to their site and do some exploring.  

So how can we help hedgerows and so help wildlife survive and thrive?

Plant a hedge!

Plant a hedge!  The RSPB has information on how to do this here.   And if you haven’t got room to plant a whole hedge, don’t worry!  The RSPB’s wildlife garden expert called Adrian has invented a hedge wedge – just plant one corner with hedge plants, 30cm away from boundaries and the plants 30dcm apart.  This creates a corner thicket – perfect for nesting birds and wildlife – and you could put a hedgehog house there as well. Find out more here – the RSPB have a list of trees and shrubs that would be great for wildlife!   Be inspired by Aberystwyth!  The community there planted a hedge for wildlife.  

The week has teamed up with the Green Libraries Network to give special hedgerow theme displays for children. Head to your local library to see if they have a display. Or why not created display at home or in school?  There are plenty of resources you can download to do this

Check the health of your hedge

If you have hedges, why not check out their health this week?  National Hedgerow Week coincides with National Plant Health Week (and Hedgehog Awareness Week – it’s all happening in the natural world!).   There are useful guides at Observatree, and you can report any pests and disease you find using Forest Research’s Tree Alert.

When you’re out and about…

Help the People’s Trust for Endangered Species with their Great British Hedgerow Survey.   It’s very easy to get involved – you could really help further their understanding of hedgerow health and what laws are needed to help them thrive.

Share a picture of your favourite hedge on social media using #MyFaveHedge  

Wear an “I Love This Hedge” badge  to raise awareness of hedges. People don't normally think about them; they tend to go past them without giving them a second thought - so this may inspire them to take a second look at hedges next time they pass them.  You can download it here. 

Gifts for nature lovers who love hedges

Why not make a gift supporting hedges?  You could give them a virtual gift from the Woodland Trust for £30.   It's called the Hedge Fund and it will help the Trust boost declining hedgerows.  You could also give a hedging plant to plant in their garden.  

Image copyright Woodland Trust

Privet hedges are making a comeback

In the Daily Mail today, there's a report on how privet hedges are undergoing a revival, partly because they can deal with all types of weather.   Hedging has got to be better than a fence - it's far nicer to look at and can withstand high winds better than a fence.  Plus it gives birds shelter as well.   The RHS has information about hedge choices with environment benefits - take a look here.

The book Hedgelands : A wild wander around Britain’s greatest habitat  by Christopher Hart tells you everything you need to know about hedges.   It talks about the life, ecology and history of the humble British hedge, and how hedgerow is now considered the greatest edge habitat on earth.  And of course it gives protection against the elements. I recall doing some gardening one afternoon, with a brisk wind coming across the Sussex Downs, and how protected I felt from the weather.   Find out more about this book from

On the 22nd June in Central London, there is a march called Restore Nature Now.  Wildlife charities and organisations are calling on everyone to join them and let our politicians know that we want them to show strong domestic and global nature and climate leadership.  You can find out more about their demands here.   Please spread the word! 



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