Planting, protecting and restoring the UK’s iconic, carbon-busting hedgerows

Hedgerows are amazing – they are the unsung heroes of our towns and countryside and have the potential to do lots more! Close the Gap is a new programme focused on achieving bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows through planting and ‘gapping up’, gathering and sharing knowledge to improve hedgerow management, improving supplies of future hedgerow trees through local seed nurseries and by engaging the public with our important hedgerow heritage.

What makes hedges so brilliant?

  • Hedgerows are great for biodiversity – they provide food, shelter, habitat and vital corridors for a huge range of wildlife. They’re complex ecosystems in their own right and often the only habitat remaining in some wildlife sparse areas.
  • They are climate emergency heroes. Not only do they absorb and store carbon dioxide emissions, they also help prevent damage from flooding, reduce water pollution and cool us down.
  • Hedges help our towns and cities breathe by improving air quality and reducing noise pollution in built-up areas. They absorb pollution particles and can be especially important along roadsides for this reason.
  • They are important to agriculture and in the green economy. Hedges provide shelter and shade for stock animals, support the amazing pollinators we need for crop production, improve soil health and much more!
  • They improve our wellbeing – they give us birdsong, blossoms and berries, add richness to our lives and help us feel better.
  • Hedges are part of our culture and heritage, making up a crucial thread in the rich tapestry of our country.

How can you get involved?

  • Let them grow bigger and bushier. If you look after any hedges – in your garden, on a farm, at school – manage them better for wildlife!
  • Cut them back carefully – let them grow out a few centimetres more each time.
  • Don’t tidy the dead leaves and wild plants growing at the bottom of a hedge – they’re a wonderful habitat.
  • If you can – plant a hedge! Communities can can currently plant their own hedge by applying to our Community Hedge Fund and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group have similar grants for farmers.
  • If you can’t plant a hedge – we can plant one for you! Through Pledge a Hedge, you can donate to plant a few metres of vital new hedge.

National Hedgerow Week

29 May – 6 June 2021

To get everyone involved in caring for hedgerows, we launched the first ever National Hedgerow Week. Events included a social media competition, the launch of special HedgeFunds for planting hedgerows, our #TalkToTheHedge campaign and some brilliant free webinars.

Project partners

The project partners include The Tree Council, Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Moor Trees, University of Reading, Future Gardeners (Worshipful Company of Gardeners) and Hedgelink. This project is funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

HELP US PLANT TREES AND HEDGEROWS

Donate to The Tree Council

Donate to The Tree Council and we will use your generosity to plant, care for and protect trees at the local level, through our volunteers and community programmes and at the national level through advocacy, science & research and our network of members.