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Hedging your bets?






Did you know that hedges provide homes to 80% of our native birds and support over 2,000 species? Amongst other things, they also prevent soil loss, reduce pollution and regulate water supply to reduce flooding and provide essential corridors for birds, mammals and insects. The inaugural 'National Hedgerow Week' has been launched to highlight these and other amazing contributions that hedges make in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss and to raise awareness of the threats they face. They are also calling on all gardeners to protect their hedges.


The Committee on Climate Change has advised that the UK needs to plant 200,000km of new hedgerows if it is to meet our 2050 net zero target - that is the equivalent in length of half the UK road network and this initiative, is part of 'Close the Gap' a year-long partnership project focused on achieving healthier and better connected hedgerows, funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund and delivered by a variety of partners including Hedgelink and The Tree Council.


They're encouraging people to get curious about their local hedges, by launching a webinar series called HedgeTalks, a photo competition, a social media campaign #TalkToTheHedge and a website full of helpful tips and growing information. Throughout the week there will be a range of exciting hedge-inspired activities for volunteers and the public and the UK's first All Natural Hedgefunds will be distributed. The Farming Hedgefund will grant £500,000 to landowners in England to help them fill hedgerow gaps and plant 30 miles of new hedges this winter and a Community Hedgefund will also be available for volunteer Tree Wardens and local groups to plant new community hedges.


Taking part in National Hedgerow Week is simple and easy - you don't even need to own a hedge. The Tree Council recommends six ways the public can get involved:-


1. #TALKTOTHEHEDGE Get to know your local hedges and experience all the amazing things going on inside it. Tell everyone you know about how great these special microhabitats are. (They've even created a guide to help you talk to your hedge, which may raise a few eyebrows but is a fun way of encouraging reconnection).

2. LET YOUR HEDGEROWS GROW Bigger and for longer - if you're lucky enough to own a hedge, try letting it grow an extra foot - it supercharges your hedgerow's ability to capture carbon and air pollution, too. When you do have to cut back, don't cut to the same place each time. Allowing an extra 4 inches each year will help blossom in spring and berries in autumn to form on last year's growth. It's illegal to cut hedges if the action damages active birds' nests, so it's best to cut in winter from November to February, outside the bird nesting season.

3. WE LOVE MESSY BOTTOMS! The bottom part of the hedge is a haven for wildlife - don't clear it of those lovely old leaves and wild plants that pop up there. But if you see any litter in a hedgerow, take a second to pick it out and dispose of it (recycling where possible). Rubbish causes problems for the wildlife living in the hedge AND gives hedges a bad name.

4. PLANT A HEDGEROW If you're lucky enough to have a garden, plant a hedgerow! It's fine alongside an existing fence or railings. Plant a mix of native shrubs and trees for biodiversity benefit - nature loves a good selection! Hawthorn, hazel, dogwood, guelder rose, beech and yew are just a few of the wonderful species that are attractive in your garden AND encourage wildlife. If everyone planted or pledged 3 metres (9.5 feet) of hedgerow, we'd smash our national hedgerow targets. You can also apply for a grant to plant a hedge in your community.

5. LEARN MORE ABOUT HEDGES AND BECOMING A HEDGEROW CHAMPION. Why not join us at one of our free Hedge Talks to learn more about hedgerows and how you can champion them?

6. DONATE TO PLANT, PROTECT AND CARE FOR HEDGEROWS. If you can't plant hedgerows yourself, let The Tree Council do it for you by making a donation to The Tree Council's 'Pledge a Hedge' campaign and help the champion hedgerows into the future. Donate £15 and you'll be helping them to plant 1m of fantastic hedgerow. PLEDGE HERE


You can find out more by checking out their free Guide to National Hedgerow Week HERE. For additional information about why Hedgerows matter visit The Tree Council website.