Hedges are the UK's largest priority habitat.
Hedgerows – whether we’re talking the leafy border around your garden or the iconic patchwork across the British countryside – they have the remarkable potential to help us tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.
Yet we’ve lost 50% of our hedgerows since World War II – and around 60% of the hedgerows we still have aren’t in good condition.
So caring for our hedgerows is a real way we can tackle the environmental challenges of our time.
But we need everyone to get involved.
Things you may not know about hedges
- Hedges are brilliant at capturing carbon – annually, a new hedgerow can absorb the carbon produced by a car travelling over 1,000 kilometres.
- Due to their presence at the level of pedestrians, hedgerows are natural barriers to harmful air pollution in our streets.
- Hedgerows are the UK’s largest priority habitat – and are home to 80% of our woodland birds.
- 50% of UK hedgerows have been lost since WWII and of those that remain, 60% are badly-managed.
- The Climate Change Committee has advised that the UK needs to increase our hedgerows by 40% to meet our 2050 net zero target, which means planting 200,000km of new hedgerows – the equivalent of half the length the UK road network.
- Healthy hedgerows are essential habitats for UK biodiversity, supporting over 2,000 species including the hedgehog and several European Protected Species, notably the dormouse, most species of bat, the great-crested newt and many more.
Top ten tips for a healthy hedge
Looking for more hedgerow management resources?
Catch up on our series of free HedgeTalks
Hedge Talks is a series of free webinars spreading the word about all that our unsung hedgerow heroes do for us and the environment. We have collected some of the brightest minds in the world of hedges to speak about everything from insects to hedgelaying, birdsongs to hedge books – there’s something for everyone!