Why do Hedges Matter?

Herefordshire Monnow valley

Hedges are living things that need to be maintained & managed to stay in good condition. They are of great benefit to the landscape and biodiversity and provide environmental benefits. Their beauty in the landscape should be retained for future generations to enjoy.

Pied Woodpeckers - copyright Barbara Bromhead-wragg 2011

  • Hedgerows play a particularly important role in conserving and protecting farmland and woodland birds and mammals. Hedgerow trees provide additional useful habitat.
  • Hedgerows act as barriers between polluting fertilisers, pesticides, sediment & watercourses.
  • Hedgerows regulate the rate of flow of water within different areas.
  • Hedgerows provide firewood – a renewable fuel – for people in the immediate area.
  • Well-maintained hedgerows provide both barriers & shelter for stock.
  • Hedgerows in urban areas provide sustainable drainage, reduce the amount of air pollution, provide a habitat for urban wildlife and improve the look and feel of built up areas.

CPRE Herefordshire & Hedges In Herefordshire

  • CPRE Herefordshire are concerned that annual flailing of hedges in early autumn still continues in parts of Herefordshire.
  • CPRE Herefordshire are pleased that Herefordshire Council safeguards numerous hedges under the Hedgerow Regulations but are still concerned that hedges are continue being unnecessarily lost to development; there is evidence that some hedges are removed unlawfully.

CPRE Herefordshire campaigned energetically for the introduction of the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations and trust that Herefordshire Council now safeguards numerous hedges and that the ruthless destruction of Herefordshire hedges, suffered in the 1990s, is coming to an end.

We regret seeing large hedges and their hedgerow trees lost to development, instead of being retained to enhance it.

We believe better records should be kept, to enable features that people value to be identified before unthinking felling destroys them.

History

Surprisingly little information has been gathered about Herefordshire’s hedgerows despite general recognition that this county embraces varied landscapes and it is correspondingly rich in diverse hedgerows, often containing substantial trees.

Herefordshire hedges are mostly old. It was already well hedged when more were planted under Parliamentary Acts, & their associatedAwards, in the 18th & 19th centuries.

These Awards transformed 30 or 40% of the landscape of many counties, from an open landscape into one of hedged enclosures. In contrast, less than 5% of Herefordshire was affected because it was already well hedged by the end of the 17th century and probably long before.

Hereford Hedgerow Project

Discover more about the county’s hedges»