The Anglo-Saxon word for enclosure was ‘haeg’ or gehaeg’ and this is were we get the word ‘hedge’.

Conservation of Hedges - How can you help?

With so many pressures upon hedges from agriculture, housing development, road building, pollution etc., obviously some form of protection is needed to prevent too much further hedge destruction. However, when considering conservation of habitats we must be sensible and remember that we have to accept some changes in our environment. With an increasing human population a few wild habitats have to be destroyed to make room for more housing, crops, etc. This is no reason, however, to be thoughtless and we must think of conserving wild habitats and wildlife for future generations to enjoy. A hedge that has been around for hundreds of years is part of our heritage and should be conserved if at all possible. Here are a couple of ideas for helping hedges.

1. Look around your own area. Find a neglected hedge, perhaps in a garden, park or on a farm that seems to need some improvement. Perhaps it needs clipping, replanting in places, litter removed, etc. Ask the hedge owner if you can help, or perhaps take over responsibility for the hedge. You could form a group of ‘hedge helpers’ to assist you with the work. Also, keep an eye on other local hedges, particularly any of historical interest – if you think such a hedge is about to be destroyed you may be able to stop this by contacting the Tree Officer at your District or county Council.

Hedge Plants

 

 

 

 

 

2. You can create a useful wildlife habitat by planting a hedge in your own garden or perhaps in your school grounds. A hedge is a much more interesting boundary or screen than a boring fence! Even a short hedge will be welcomed by all sorts of animals, especially of you plant a variety of hedgerow plants. Excellent hedge species include hazel, holly, hawthorn, blackthorn, dogrose and dogwood. These have colourful flowers and berries and attract many birds, insects and small mammals.

Don’t tidy up’ the bottom of the hedge too much – fallen leaves and long grass will provide shelter for animals. Many of our wildlflowers are disappearing from the countryside and it would add extra interest to your hedge if you planted some at the bottom of it. Never dig up wild flowers from the countryside but buy seeds, sow them in pots and transfer the young plants to the hedge. With careful trimming, so that the hedge grows thickly, you will be providing an excellent wildlife habitat as well as a very interesting garden for yourself!

Read More: Ideas for Hedge Study

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