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Championing our historic urban and rural hedgerows – how Tree Wardens can help

The Tree Council

March 30, 2021

Find out how to get involved with our Close the Gap hedgerows project

At The Tree Council we have always known that hedgerows are amazing. These oft-overlooked features are the largest wildlife habitat we have in the UK across rural and urban areas, and are also great at absorbing carbon and protecting carbon in the soil beneath them. They have huge potential to be part of the UK solution to the two big environmental challenges of our time – the biodiversity crisis and the climate emergency.

The UK’s network of over 700,000km are also a vital part of our rich cultural and environmental heritage, with some having been around for as long as 7,000 years. They provide us with wellbeing opportunities in both countryside and towns. They bring birdsong, colour and greenery into the heart of our built-up areas, including in places where it’s not possible for large trees to be planted.

So we are delighted to be able to tell you more about The Tree Council’s new Close the Gap project. Working with our partners, we will promote bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows in England. Our project partners are:

  • The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG)
  • The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)
  • Moor Trees
  • The University of Reading

Together we have been awarded £1.8m Defra funding through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund

The project will:

  • Plant 53km (almost 32 miles) of new rural and urban hedgerows and 2650 hedgerow trees
  • Gather and share knowledge to improve management by surveying and restoring 26km (15.5 miles) of hedgerows
  • Support good local supplies of future hedgerow trees through local seed nurseries
  • Develop the Hedgelink website and ‘knowledge hub’
  • Increase public engagement in our hedgerow heritage by launching a new National Hedgerow Week – 29th May – 6th June (put it in your diary!)
  • Help create future employment by apprenticing 10 new tree trainees and engaging with 300 land-based students at a Discovery Day.

The Close the Gap team

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Louise Bowe, Close the Gap Project Manager

Two new members have joined Team Tree Council to run and manage Close the Gap. Louise Bowe is our newly appointed Close the Gap Project Manager, based in Buckinghamshire. She has a background in delivering projects and communication campaigns over many years in the environmental sector and her appreciation of hedgerows, trees and nature began with a school project on ecology!

Louise is joined by Claire McCaffery-Clarke who will be working across Community Engagement. Claire is based in Somerset and spent the last 13 years with The British Horse Society as their Regional Development Manager for London & the South East but a relocation to rural Somerset has yielded new opportunities. In her downtime Claire enjoys exploring the Quantocks with her husband and two horses and taking her dog for walking adventures.

How Tree Wardens can get involved

We know Tree Wardens are great champions of their local hedgerows. We would love our Tree Wardens to be a part of this exciting new project to help connect wildlife habitats, improve biodiversity, deliver cleaner air in our towns & cities and assist with carbon storage and climate change mitigation.

  • Grant funding will be available to help plant new hedgerows both on farmland and in communities – more information will follow through Tree Warden co-ordinators when we launch the funding later this spring
  • Use a soon-to-be-launched Hedgerow App to survey your local hedgerows – watch this space!
  • Tell us about your ideas to help celebrate National Hedgerow Week – email claire.mc@treecouncil.org.uk
  • Get online and help spread the word about the wonders of hedgerows – post photos of your favourite hedgerows across social media, tell us about the hedgerows in your local area, hit us with your hedgerow facts and observations! As the project progresses, will also be sharing ‘information bundles’ with our Tree Wardens to help them get the crucial hedgerow messages out


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