What’s in a hedgerow? More than you think!

 

dormouse_hedgeHot on the heels of Grown in Britain week, this month’s blog takes a closer look at our hedgerows.   Find out a little more about all the hidden treasures you get when you plant and look after a hedge…what’s in YOUR hedge?

What’s in a hedgerow?

Once you’ve planted and established your hedging, you get a whole lot more than you bargained for.  Here’s a little snapshot of all that’s wrapped up in British hedgerows….

  • Shelter:  For wildlife, hedgerows link small woods and create nature’s corridors – a safe haven and great cover for pheasants and partridges to disperse around farms.
  • Food:  Likewise, birds, insects and small mammals thrive on the sustenance from berries and foliage in their native hedgerows.
  • History:   From Roman times onwards, new hedges were planted on and off until the mid-18th century when hedge planting mushroomed following the introduction of the Enclosures Act.    These hedgerows shape our British landscape and form a network of historical horticulture across the country.  After the Second World War, it is now recognised that the government went too far with their policy of financially incentivising hedge removal.  Thankfully now, there are grants available to encourage new hedge planting and the protection of existing hedgerows
  • Wind Protection: hedges provide shelter for stock and crops, cutting down wind speed which in turn helps prevent erosion
  • Pest Control:  Hedging acts as an overwinter hotel for predatory insects which can move into crops in the spring when aphid numbers start to increase.  Their barrier effect helps restrain windborne pests, too.
  • Pollination:   Insects, particularly bumblebees, need hedge banks and their benefits for crop pollination are legendary!

Isn’t it time you thought about hedging for your garden?  For more information about the importance of hedge planting and financial advice, grants and support to help you get started, here are some of the key organisations to contact:

  • Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group: offering site-specific advice for farmers and potential to gain additional help through Countryside Management Projects
  • Your local Wildlife Trust : for gardens, paddocks and private non-farming estates.
  • Natural England:  Environmental Stewardship is a land management scheme that provides funding to farmers and land managers to delivery effect environmental management on their land
  • Your local authority:  Grants may also be available locally for hedge planting and management.
  • Forestry Commission:  A whole host of woodland grants are under the English Woodland Grant Scheme

Act now – you can pre-order your bare root plants, ready for the Winter and save 15%!

 

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