Why do hedgerows matter?
We have lost 50% of our hedgerows since 1945, and we need to reverse that. Hedgerows really matter for a number of reasons. Traditionally, they were used for marking ownership of boundaries and keeping livestock either in or out of fields. The People's Trust for Endangered Species has a history of hedgerows.
Now, hedgerows have a role to play in:
- Preventing soil loss
- Reducing pollution
- Regulating water supplies
- Reducing flooding
- Screening houses
- Acting as windbreaks
Also, they can be a source of jams (due to berries) and fuel. Some animals such as sheep and cattle search out particular flowers and leaves to supplement their diet
Wildlife really need hedgerows.
Hedgerows act as wildlife corridors - a sort of motoroway network - linking different areas. They provide animals such as birds, dormice, bats and stag bettles with essential habitat and supplies - they give them everything they need. If they are close to a pond, you may well find amphibians using them as well.
They are home to 80% of our woodland birds, hedgehogs, most species of bat, the great crested newt, dormice and butterflies.
Find out about the 5 threatened British species which rely on hedgerows - dormice, song thrush and 11 threatened bird species, hedgehogs, Barbastelle bats, and butterflies.
National Hedgerow Week: Monday 8th May to Sunday 14th May 2023
National Hedgerow Week was launched in 2021 to highlight the incredible contribution hedgerows make to halting biodiversity decline and tackling climate change. And in 2023, it's being held from Monday 8th May to Sunday 14th May - a wonderful chance to celebrate healthy hedgerows!
Hedgelink brings organisations and individuals ogether who love hedgerows. The site shares knowledge and ideas to encourage us all to act to manage, protect and conserver our hedgerows for the future.
- Hedgerow management advice
- Top 10 tips for a healthy hedge (including linking yours with other wildlife habitats)
- Hedgerow components
- Hedgerow biodiveristy
- The importance of hedgerows
- Protection e.g. regulations surrounding hedgerows
So what can you do during National Hedgerow Week?
- There are Hedgetalks - free, online talks celebrating everything that hedges do for us and the environment.
- There's Chris Packham’s ‘Hedge of the Year’ competition - get snapping!
- Take part in the PTES's hedgerow survey - find out more here
- Plant a hedge!
- You could share your love for hedges with the hashtag #talktothehedge - you could share Top Ten Tips for a Healthy Hedge, for instance
- Increase your own knowledge about hedgerows and why they matter - discover all about them here
- There was funding which is available to help people plant hedgerows
- You could (and you still can) discover all about hedgerows in urban areas, rural areas, gardens and allotments and their benefits for education and learning. Please watch the videos in HedgeHub – they are short – to find out more and spread the word about them so that others can enjoy them too.
You could also find out more about the work various charities involved in hedgerows do:
- PTES – People’s Trust for Endangered Species
- CPRE – Campaign for Rural England
- Soil Association
- Hedgerow Heritage (a National Lottery funded project to inspire and teach young budding ecologists, practical conservationists and the wider local community to restore, renew and create hedgerows in the North Downs and Surrey Hills.)
Meanwhile, in your garden…
The RHS has lots of advice about hedges and hedgerows for wildlife in your garden with suggested plants – find out more her. Suggestions include native hawthorn, field maple, beech, hornbeam, holly and blackthorn as a mixture. Rambling plants such as wild rose, bramble and honeysuckle gives more shelter and food to wildlife.
The Wildlife Trusts have information about managing hedgerows for wildlife.
And – please don’t forget – leave a hole for hedgehogs to get through if you must go for a wooden fence. The hole needs to be 13cm in diameter so it’s not exactly enormous but it will help our hedgehogs enormously.