origins of hedgerows
of farming have created the hedgerows and the countryside we know today.
Generations of farmers have built and maintained field boundaries to retain
livestock and to mark changes of ownership. Ancient species-rich hedgerows
or large hedgerow trees or pollards may mark important boundaries such
as those between parishes or large estates.
hedges is an integral part of farming practice. Regular trimming with
the flail, or laying or coppicing to rejuvenate a weak hedge, is traditional
winter farm work. All hedges require some form of management to prevent
them becoming overgrown lines of trees. Well-maintained hedges usually
have a greater value to wildlife and cause fewer farming problems than
hedge shrubs will only produce blossom in the second year so
annual cutting will decrease the amount of blossom in the spring
and fruit in the autumn.
is now generally accepted that annual trimming, unless for road safety
and visibility and power lines, is not ecologically beneficial. Annual
cutting will lead to less blossom for butterflies and other insects,
and less autumn fruit for birds and other farmland wildlife. The best
time to trim, lay or coppice a hedge is November to February. Hedge
management should never be undertaken while birds are nesting.
maintained hedges can provide valuable shelter and shade to livestock
and protect crops from the weather. A thick hedge that filters
the wind will increase in-field temperatures and reduce wind speed,
benefiting both animals and growing crops.
A thick hedge with a rough grass margin can also help to control
crop pests. Ladybirds, carabid bettles and other beneficial
insects will over winter in rough grass and in spring migrate into
adjacent arable crops eating aphids and other crop pests.
Perennial grass vegetation in the hedge base will also help suppress
invasive annual weeds.
and the countryside are part of an evolving landscape that changes
to suit the farming needs of the time. Often unpopular with non-farmers,
hedge removal to create large fields is usually carried out for
good reason. The farming industry like any other must remain economically
viable to survive.
1997, removal has been governed by the Hedgerow Regulations, where
a farmer must apply for permission before removing a hedgerow. Hedge
removal can also cause farming problems:
of shelter for stock
greater risk of soil erosion on sloping cultivated land
reliance on pesticides as natural predators are removed.