The hedgerow is something of a symbol of the British countryside as it is not only an attractive feature that appears in many parts of the country but it is a valuable home for a wide variety of wildlife. You will find a wide variety of animals in hedgerows including, the song thrush, the dormouse and the brown hair.
Flowers can also be found here including the Ragged Robin and the Bluebell. They also provide a practical purpose to people and can act as a way to divide up a garden in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner.
Despite their uses and historical popularity the hedgerow is becoming increasingly uncommon. Between 1940 and 1990 the number of hedgerows in the country significantly decreased due to human action. Perhaps a greater problem still is that many of the types of wildlife that enjoyed the hedgerow as a home are also suffering. The decline is expected to be due to increasing amounts of urbanisation and the rise in the size of the average farm field.
Another problem is that people are generally unaware of Hedgerow Regulations which were introduced in 1997 and meant that all hedgerows that were over 30 years old were protected and an application for removal had to be applied for. Many hedgerows date back hundreds of years and a great deal of people are concerned that this important part of our rural heritage is being wiped out.
Disease is another factor that has helped in the decline of hedgerows and Dutch Elm disease destroyed a huge number of the plants in the 1970s and 1980s. The disease destabilises the branches of the plant and it has no resistance to the destructive fungus. Two organisations in the UK are currently working to increase the conservation efforts of the country’s hedgerows.