HEDGES

Award winning local Hedge Layers, Mark and Doug Withers, tackle a local overgrown hedgerow above. It used to be said, a hedge would need laying twice in a lifetime although this is rarely the case now. The cup winning finished hedge is below!

Hedge laying is essential to remove dead material and rejuvenate growth, which keeps hedges stock proof although, there is little need for this on today’s arable land. However, in an arable landscape, they provide sites for mature trees in what would otherwise be, a treeless landscape. Also, they mark out land boundaries and they are the most biologically rich areas. Much of our native wildlife is provided for by hedgerows from food, shelter, nest sites and a network of corridors across the landscape. They also play a big part in feeding migratory birds like Redwing and Fieldfare. Hedges of various heights and states of growth, provide a good variety of habitats. Hedge laying is an essential part of managing them and they quickly become lush and green again. They also provide winter fuel and roadside hedges help prevent snow drifting onto roads.   

There are still some ancient hedges locally which have historical value as well as biological value and because of their age, they tend to have many species in their makeup. The number of species over a measured stretch, can help determine the age of a hedge. Also, ancient hedges are not usually straight and tend to follow contours of landscape features, these might be old ridge and furrow fields, Ancient track ways or settlement boundaries.

Some recent hedge plantings also contain many species to help increase the local biodiversity of arable land, but again, these tend to be much straighter. Older hedges also often have a much better count of wildflower species.     

HABITAT

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