Help­ing hedgerows

Canal Boat - - News -

FOL­LOW­ING CON­CERNS OVER a 50 per­cent de­cline in hedgerows since the Se­cond World War, a 600-mile sur­vey was con­ducted to check the health of the na­tion’s water­side hedges.

The sur­vey, con­ducted by the Canal & River Trust and funded by £ 50,000 from play­ers of the Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery, iden­ti­fied many miles of the most com­mon hedge species, hawthorn, as be­ing in need of some TLC, along with other va­ri­eties such as ash, black­thorn, el­der and hazel.

This year, train­ing will be pro­vided for staff and vol­un­teers in hedge lay­ing and Trust vol­un­teers will be on the canal tow­path plant­ing new species and re­pair­ing his­toric hedgerows, which have been a canal­side fea­ture for over 200 years, to pro­vide a greater va­ri­ety of food and shel­ter for wildlife.

Stu­art Moodie, CRT na­tional ecol­o­gist, said: “Hedgerows are more than just im­por­tant fea­tures in the land­scape; they are life­lines for some of our most threat­ened wildlife. Many of our most at-risk species, from dormice and hedge­hogs, to birds like black­birds, thrushes and tree spar­rows will all ben­e­fit from this pro­ject.

“Canals and their hedgerows act like na­ture’s high­ways and have the po­ten­tial to al­low safe routes to travel, col­lect food and find shel­ter to help them sur­vive. Thanks to this fan­tas­tic sup­port from the Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery, we’ll be able to run vol­un­teer hedge-lay­ing and plant­ing days along our canals and be­gin to rein­vig­o­rate our hedgerows.”

It wasn’t all bad news – the sur­vey also re­vealed good progress in re­cent years with over half the hedgerows across the coun­try recorded as be­ing in a good con­di­tion and 25 per­cent of hedges recorded were thought to be less than ten years old.

Hedgerows, like th­ese on the Mont­gomery Canal, help en­dan­gered species like dormice

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