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Celebrate hedgerows as homes this National Hedgerow Week, and submit your Hedge of the Year

The Tree Council

October 10, 2022

Celebrate hedgerows as homes this National Hedgerow Week, and submit your Hedge of the Year

It’s The Tree Council’s second National Hedgerow Week! We’re supporting Chris Packham’s Hedge of the Year competition and celebrating hedges of all shapes and sizes, in cities and the countryside, as vital homes for wildlife with this year’s #HomeSweetHedge theme.

Hedgerows are undervalued biodiversity and climate heroes – they connect habitats, protect against pollution and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

They also provide homes for more than 2,000 species of wildlife including hedgehogs, hazel dormice, many species of bat and butterflies in the UK. 80% of our woodland bird species use hedgerows for feeding, nesting or somewhere to sing from!

Broadcaster and conservationist, Chris Packham said: “Great British hedgerows are brilliant for our wildlife, but they need protection and restoration.

“During National Hedgerow Week, we’re launching Hedgerow of the Year, a competition to showcase the bushiest, busiest and most beautiful hedgerows across the country.

“We’re asking the public to nominate their favourite hedgerows, and their worst hedgewrecks, so we can ultimately work to improve the state of our hedgerows.”

As well as Hedge of the Year, we asked talented illustrator, Erin Brown to create beautiful sketches demonstrating the variety of homes a healthy, bushy hedgerow can provide.

It could be a high-rise mixed hedgerow of hornbeam, hazel and field maple with multiple bedrooms on offer amongst its shady branches; or the countryside-estate hedgerow of a family of song-thrushes with ample space on the ground floor for woodmice, beetles or hedgehogs.

Or the large, 1,000-bedroom rural village hawthorn hedgerow currently home to moths, dormice and greenfinches, and an ideal space for those seeking quiet to hibernate for the winter.

The Tree Council CEO, Sara Lom said: “This National Hedgerow Week, we’re calling for people to see their hedges in a different light – not just a line of trees and shrubs but a vibrant metropolis of wildlife, living on our doorsteps.

“Our challenge to you is to pay special attention to your local hedges this week and discover all the amazing things they can do for us and how we can plant more, and manage them better to benefit nature and humans.

“To help you see hedges differently, we have pulled together a range of actions that you can take to help. Please join us.”

Here are some of the ways that you can take action for hedgerows:

  1. Sign up to a Hedge Talk – Hear from some of the UK’s leading experts delivering a whole week of free online Hedgerow Happy Hour Talks’ to fill in all your hedgerow knowledge gaps! From foraging to planting, tree ID to hedge laying, plus wildlife and bedtime stories, there’s something for everyone!
  2. Demand change – Encourage your friends and family to support CPRE – The Countryside Charity’s #40by50 Hedgerow Petition and call on the Government to back the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to plant 40% more hedgerows – equivalent to 200,000kms – by 2050. Make sure you add your name before CPRE deliver it to Downing Street on 17 October.
  3. Plant a micro hedge – Most of our hedges are in the countryside, planted and looked after by farmers but anybody with a few metres along a fence or wall at home, in school grounds, work premises or community space can plant a carbon guzzling new hedge to make your own space green and beautiful and create a home for wildlife. Planting (with permission of the landowner, if it’s not you) a hedge made of mixed native species is brilliant for wildlife. Check out our Planting Guidance help you get started. There are also Tree Council grants for community groups and schools to plant a hedgerow in your local area.
  4. Grow a hedgerow from seed – It might take a bit longer but it’s so satisfying! It’s easy with a bit of ‘know how’ to gather seeds in your local area and plant them to grow into baby trees that can later be transplanted to form a hedgerow – you only need a small space like a balcony or patio to get them started. See our brand-new Tree Grower’s Guide for help.
  5. Put down the clippers! No need to put lots of work into keeping hedges clipped super neat and tight (unless for highway visibility or access safety). Hedges allowed to blossom and fruit by cutting less, often give maximum food for birds, insects and mammals. A well-managed hedge will provide a bountiful harvest each autumn, with fruits like crab apples, sloes, and blackberries. See our top-10-tips for a healthy hedge here.
  6. Pledge a Hedge – Not all of us are able to plant a hedge of our own – but The Tree Council can help. Donating just £15 to The Tree Council will help plant, protect, and care for 1 metre of fantastic hedgerow.
  7. Get snapping – Get involved with wildlife TV presenter, Chris Packham’s ‘Hedge of the Year’ launching during National Hedgerow Week, on October 10. The Springwatch presenter is looking for his Hedge Heroes and Hedge Wrecks, so get snapping and send in your submissions – the winners will be revealed during National Hedgerow Week 2023.

The Tree Council’s National Hedgerow Week, supported by the Trees Call to Action Fund, runs from 10 – 17 October 2022. You can find out more by visiting www.hedgelink.org.uk/campaign/national-hedgerow-week/.

For media enquiries, contact Matt Hurst, Head of Comms, The Tree Council – matt.hurst@treecouncil.org.uk.

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