Posted: Tuesday 31st January 2017 by Volunteering
Hedgerow Heroes is the exciting new volunteer led project, surveying and restoring Surrey's iconic and vital hedgerows.
With nectar-rich blossom in the spring, insects buzzing in the dense thickets in summer and red berries abound in autumn; hedgerows provide wildlife with a rich larder. In fact, they are so good for wildlife that 130 UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) priority species are associated with them.
As well as being an important habitat in their own right, they act as wildlife corridors allowing dispersal between isolated habitats. Hedgerows are important for lots of different species, providing excellent habitat for dormice and commuting routes for bats. Hedgehogs use them for foraging and shelter and they are a magnet for birds and bees.
But hedgerows are a habitat under threat. This iconic British feature across the countryside and gardens alike is very under-recorded in Surrey and across the UK. The majority of them are in a very poor state -– recent surveys suggest only 10 percent are maybe in good condition in Surrey - and that needs to change. Since the Second World War more than 120,000 km of hedgerows have been lost. There are 450,000 km of hedgerows left in the UK and some date back to medieval times. However, hedgerows are at risk from intensive farming and development and many are being damaged by over pruning/cutting or neglect, which has a serious impact on wildlife. Hedgerow Heroes is here to change that.
Hedgerows are a habitat under threat
As part of The ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ Project we will be increasing and updating our knowledge on the extent and condition of hedgerows in Surrey and undertake practical action to restore our hedgerow network. Teams of volunteers will be trained to use traditional hedgerow management techniques and shown how to carry out hedgerow surveys. The information they collect will be used to build up a database of information about the current state of the county’s hedgerows. Hedgerow Heroes will create targeted hedgerow management, advice, planting and practical action to restore Surrey’s hedgerow heritage.
If you’re interested in getting involved with Hedgerow Heroes, it will be launching this spring. Please contact Jim Jones: Jim.Jones@surreywt.org.uk for more information.
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