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Tree Wardens

Libraries Go Leafy for National Hedgerow Week!

The Tree Council

May 3, 2024

Libraries across the UK will go leafy as The Tree Council and Partners celebrate National Hedgerow Week (NHW) and the extraordinary biodiversity boosting benefits of hedgerows and their trees, from May 6 – 12.

More than 120 libraries, from Suffolk to Dumfries, and from Brixton to Liverpool, will feature hedgerow themed displays aimed at connecting the next generation to one of the UK’s most important rural and urban assets.

It’s been a tough time for hedgerows over the past 100 years – the most recent Countryside Survey, in 2007, found less than half (48%) were in good condition – and their future is dependent on us rediscovering their magic.

In addition to activities across the UK library network, for NHW 2024 there is a special focus on hedgerow trees, alongside the overall theme of connectivity:

  • how hedgerows connect to each other to create bustling wildlife corridors
  • the skills needed to rescue and reconnect the UK’s struggling hedges
  • the legislation our hedgerows – and those who work with them – need to consistently deliver high standards of management and care.

The Tree Council is hosting three free, online Hedge Talks during the week to connect people to these issues; bringing knowledge and insight to those new to hedgerows, as well as helping inform those who make policy decisions, those who keep hedgerows healthy season to season, and the landowners and farmers for whom hedgerows are a practical necessity.

The Tree Council’s Jon Stokes and Will Fitzpatrick open the events series with a special hedgerow tree focused Hedge Talk. Will’s research suggests the hedgerow tree population is ageing, with precious few young trees filling the gaps they leave behind.

Next Lucy Mason, Nic Rennison and James Robinson – all of whom manage, maintain and plant hedgerows – bring insights from the frontline of hedgerow management, where policy decisions play out in real life.

And, with NHW falling in the same week as National Plant Health Week, the final event focuses on the specific threats to hawthorn and box – two of the most common hedgerow species.

The Tree Council CEO Sara Lom said: “Hedgerows are a magnificent part of our heritage, some of them as old as Britain’s ancient palaces and castles. They provide homes for wildlife and storage for carbon, bring joyful blossom in springtime and fruit for foragers in the autumn.

“For 2024, we’re emphasising connectivity – connecting to the next generation through our libraries, connecting the hedgerows in our landscapes, and connecting all the passionate players in the world of hedgerows, helping to ensure our hedgerow heritage thrives for many years to come.”

Keep an eye on The Tree Council’s substack and social media channels for more hedgerow love; with recipes from 2023 Great British Bake Off contestant, Abbi Lawson; insight from hedgerow writer, Richard Negus; competitions; chances to share #MyFaveHedge and much, much more.

National Hedgerow Week 2024 takes place from May 6 – May 12. For more information, to access resources and to book your free Hedge Talk spot, please visit www.nationalhedgerowweek.org.uk 

 

Trees Call to Action Fund

This project is funded by the Trees Call to Action Fund. The fund was developed by Defra in partnership with the Forestry Commission and is being delivered by the Heritage Fund.

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