A little about hedgerows from The Wildlife Trusts:

Criss-crossing the countryside, hedgerows – long rows of bushes, often with trees rising among them – can be seen dividing up our farmland and landscapes. They may be planted or they may be the remnants of ancient wooded areas, but they are mainly used as barriers to prevent livestock from escaping from the fields or to form boundaries between parishes.

Two thirds of England has been continuously hedged for over a thousand years, so many of our older hedgerows are a window into our past. They can range in date from medieval boundaries to the results of the 19th century Enclosures Act when many of the open fields and commons were divided up into smaller pockets. These older hedgerows support an amazing diversity of plants and animals and often have archaeological important old banks and ditches associated with them.

In the UK, there are currently about 450,000 km of hedgerow left. Of this, about 190,000 km are thought to be ancient or species-rich. These hedges are mainly found in southern England and southern Wales, and are much scarcer in Scotland.

With nectar-rich blossom in the spring, insects buzzing in the dense thickets in summer and red berries abound in autumn, hedgerows provide wildlife with a rich larder. In fact, they are so good for wildlife that 130 UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) priority species are associated with them.

Hedgerows are often a mix of shrub and tree species such as hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, ash and oak, interwoven with climbers like traveller’s-joy and honeysuckle. Banks and ditches fill with flowers like hedge bedstraw and red campion, and butterflies, such as the rare black and brown hairstreaks, purple emperor and pearl-bordered fritillary, use them for nectar or to lay their eggs.

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