CPRE Hampshire working with Hedgerow Heroes at Bransgore Primary School

By Vicky Marr
12th November 2021

CPRE Hampshire, the countryside charity, are delighted to be working alongside Bransgore Primary School to educate the children on the importance of hedgerows in our beautiful Hampshire countryside. 

Having been invited to attend an assembly with all Key Stage 2 children at the school, Natalie Hargreaves, Hedgerow Heroes Initiative Co-Ordinator for CPRE Hampshire, talked to the children about why hedgerows are so important to wildlife and how they can help reduce the impact of climate change. It was also a great chance to explain the work CPRE Hampshire are doing nearby, in the New Forest, to reinvigorate hedgerows. She got great feedback from the children and lots of interest and questions.  

Natalie explains: “Once I’d talked about the countryside and why hedgerows are such an important feature, I asked the children about how they used the countryside and why it’s important to them. I loved hearing their stories and suggestions about using it for exercise and fresh air. They certainly understood the importance of it for wildlife, talking about mice, hedgehogs and different birds. They told stories of hedgehogs hibernating in the bottom of hedges in their gardens and I answered questions about how to look after hedges and help wildlife establish a home there.” 

A few days later, some of the children were invited to come along to the CPRE Hampshire Hedgerow Heroes initiative, taking place on the Meyrick Estate, just outside Bransgore. Here they came to learn more about the importance of hedges and take part in some hands-on activities. They were shown examples of a healthy hedge and a badly managed hedge with lollipop tops and gaps. They spent time examining the hedges for evidence of habitats and wildlife and armed with a CPRE Hampshire rough guide to hedges they identified different species of plants. Most common was hawthorn but between them they found 6 or 7 different varieties, including field maple, buckthorn and blackthorn. 

Photo of Bransgore Primary School pupils surveying hedges and recording their findings.
Bransgore Primary School pupils surveying hedges and recording their findings. Photo credit: Boyd McCleary | Boyd McCleary

Ewan, one of the school children on the school trip, said: “I had a lovely time at Burton Common. I discovered a lot of interesting facts about plants and what they do for the environment, and what being a hedgerow hero means.”  

The children on the visit finished their visit by each being presented with a copy of ‘The Happy Hedgerow’ book and by signing the CPRE Hampshire ‘Hedge Pledge’. They promised to do their best to look after hedges in Hampshire and to become Hedgerow Heroes within their own school. With a new hedge being planted at their school in January, they will be going back to tell all the other pupils about everything they learned. 

In the meantime, the CPRE Hampshire hedgerow initiative on the Meyrick Estate continues with a programme of hedge laying and planting. As well as a home for wildlife, hedges play a vital role towards mitigating climate through storage of carbon.  

Hedge Drawing by Liberty, age 10, from Bransgore Primary School
Hedge Drawing by Liberty, age 10, from Bransgore Primary School
Photo of school children with their hedge pledges.
Armed with their new 'Hedge Pledge' the children went back to school with knowledge to share with other pupils about why hedgerows are so important. Boyd McCleary
Children climbing in the New Forest