dan the gardenerAs man has sculpted the Earth over many thousands of years the land has been manipulated to suit his needs.

This shows in the way the land flows with man-made boundaries that separate the countryside.

As we have evolved and moved with this way of living so have the animals and insects that use hedges as stop gaps, nests and food sources. After the second world war, the government paid the farmers to destroy the hedgerows and recently are paying farmers to redo them.

The ecological significance of a hedge is huge, thousands of species can easily co-exist in a hedgerow on the edge of an intensively farmed field. The issue with large fields without hedges and boundaries is that animals have nowhere to go. Migrating birds and bees are lost without them and small mammals are lost for a place to raise their young.

So how can we bring this to our land and homes, hedging is how and not the hedging you saw everywhere of non-native shrubs with evergreen leaves but native traditional plants that our local animals have been raised on. It is a fact that garden birds and bees are struggling to survive with encroaching building work and land destruction.

We need to petition for farmers to rebuild hedgerows and for the council on public land. Wildlife should not lose out because big companies want to develop, it should be the responsibility for the business to take ecological responsibility. Species that thrive in the hedgerow include Oak, Ash, Birch, Hazel and Willow, these trees are great to cut back and weave into a hedge.

Animals common in the hedgerow are most kinds of migrating and local birds, insects of every kind and rare flowers. The tightly woven hedge also acts as a wind barrier that allows animals to stay safe when storms and high winds are about. This enhances the survival rate of nesting animals and gives them a proper start in life.

If you have any space on your land start hedging and bring back an imperative part of our countryside. If you do not have any land take a new view of the hedge and try and count how many species you can find.

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