As a living resource and habitat, it is hard to beat hedgerows. They provide somewhere for wildlife to shelter, birds to nest, a source of food, they attract pollinators, they provide shelter, they look and smell wonderful, they can provide a source of fuel, act as a barrier, and provide a corridoor for wildlife. They are hugely beneficial in so many ways.
Shame then that so many end up looking like those above. This is our hedges when we arrived. Cut twice a year with a flail mower, as short as possible, to make them ‘tidy’. Sadly nature doesn’t like ‘tidy’, and the constant barrage of interference and destruction decreases biodiversity, deters nesting birds (especially if they are cut within the supposedly out of bounds months of May – September), and renders them pretty useless as wind breaks.
Our approach is somewhat different. In just 18 months the hedges have put on amazing growth, there are several birds nesting in this stretch, and the smell as all the varieties that have been suppressed for so long are allowed to flourish, is amazing. We’ve planted new hedging into all the gaps, and other than a bit of tidying in the autumn, these hedges will be allowed to grow on for some time yet. It may not be ‘tidy’, but it is certainly a more abundant place to inhabit.