A Hampshire hedgerow.
'Lollipop' hedging on the bridleway. Currently top-heavy, the aim will be to create an A-frame shape. This will strengthen the hedge and provide a more secure habitat for wildlife. Bob Hart

Hedgerows play an enormously important role in the countryside. Read on to find out more about them, what we’re doing to support them and what you can do to be involved.

Hampshire Hedgerows – the unsung hero of the countryside 

We walk past them all the time. They are functional, useful in dividing our land and helping to create a path for us to follow. Perhaps one of the more humble and understated features of our beautiful countryside in Hampshire, the hedgerow actually plays an enormously important role in the health and diversity of our land, our wildlife and even our climate. 

In recognition of this, CPRE Hampshire are delighted to be working with CPRE National and four other CPRE Regional branches to produce a Hedgerow Heroes project of our own. Read on to find out so much more about our Hedgerow Heroes, what we’re doing to support them and how you can be involved.

Hedgerow Heroes – an introduction 

Hedgerows are the vital stitching in the patchwork of our countryside. Not only are they beautiful, with shifting seasonal colours, but they also provide homes and corridors for wildlife. And all the while they help tackle the climate crisis by capturing carbon from the air and storing it in plants, slowing climate change. 

We’d like to see more hedgerows planted and restored. That’s why we support the Climate Change Committee’s call for a 40% increase in the extent of hedgerows by 2050 to help tackle the climate emergency. 

Read on to find out more about what we’re doing about it here in Hampshire and for further resources on hedgerows themselves and why they’re a big deal. 

Photo of hedgerows on a country lan

Hedgerow Restoration Project in South West Hampshire 

CPRE Hampshire are keen to support the restoration of hedgerows and are leading a new project in collaboration with the Meyrick Estate. The site is just south of Bransgore, on the Western edge of the New Forest and close to the Burton Common Site of Special Scientific Interest. We are planting a new 1.7km hedgerow along historical boundaries and gapping up a further 1.3km of existing hedgerow, which has become degraded over the years. This is the first stage in the restoration of some 50km of hedgerow across the estate. 

Working with a number of partners, drawing on local expertise and using it as an opportunity to educate and engage the local community on the enormous value of the humble hedgerow, there are a number of expected benefits to the hedgerow project. .

The project will not just enhance the hedgerows but will also support local jobs and offer great opportunities for the local community to connect, understand and enjoy the landscape around them.  

Take a further look at our full list of objectives specifically for the project. 

View our photographic timeline to see the site and work being undertaken for yourself.

Project timings:

  • September 2021 – hedgerow, bird, bat and insect surveys. Soil samples taken.
  • Early November to early December – Beginners’ Course in Hedgelaying.
  • Mid November to late December – planting of hedgerows. 

Take Action – sign our petition

Hedgerows need our help! We want the government to commit to 40% more hedgerows by 2050. Sign our petition to help make it happen.

Further Hedgerow Resources

A Little Rough Guide Around Hedges from CPRE – with some information this leaflet gives some history on hedgerows, why they are so important and what plant species you might spot on your local hedges.

A great article from CPRE National on The Natural History of Hedgerows.

More about Hedgelaying from Claire Maymon, a hedge layer and trustee at the National Hedgelaying Society.

Fun Stuff! Do you think you know your hedgerow info? Or interested in learning a bit more. Take our Hedgerows Quiz and see if you get top marks.

CPRE Shropshire have their own hedgerow initiative include a series of online zoom talks about all things hedgerow. Spaces get booked out fast so take a look and book your spot now.

Our downloadable Hedge Pledge for children – and adults – to make their official pledge to be a Hedgerow Hero.

Hedgerow Game – ‘Hedgerow’ the board game. Find your way through the hedgerow with our fun and beautifully illustrated ‘Hedgerow Game’.

Getting ‘Hedgeucated’ with Hedge Link. ‘Hedgeucation’ has been designed by Devon County Council so there is some county specific information. However, it still provides lots of information, inspiration and ideas that would be great for primary school aged children.

Hedgerows Latest News

Prince Charles speaks of importance of UK hedgerows. Dec 2021

Turning over a new leaf: the humble hedge stages a remarkable comeback – October 2021

New research and report from CPRE on ‘Investing in hedgerows for climate, nature and the economy.’ September 2021

Hedgerows are overlooked in the new government action plans. May 2021

Hedgerows can address climate change says new report. July 2019

Hedgerow highlights milestones from CPREs 95 years of campaigning.

Other Hedgerow Resources

Hedgelink is a partnership that brings together everyone interested in hedgerows. The website has lots of informative and useful information for everything and anything you want to know about the fabulous British hedgerow. Materials specifically designed for children are also available.

The Tree Council are also another great resource and well worth a visit.

The Tree Council’s ‘Close the Gap’ Community Hedge Fund can provide up to 100% grants for volunteer Tree Wardens and community groups in England to plant new hedgerows, hedgerow trees and gap up existing hedgerows in winter 2021/22. Planting can be in rural or urban areas on private or public land where the community will benefit.