One study conducted recently found 2,070 different species in a single stretch of 85 metres, which means that hedgerows are absolutely teeming with wildlife! Since there is a worrying decline in wildlife going on at the moment, the importance of the hedgerow network to the country simply cannot be overstated . Amongst all the other benefits that hedgerows have to offer us, they can provide us with a number of excellent services for wildlife.
Helping out wildlife
Hedgerows offers wildlife a physical home
As much as 70% of the landscape in the UK is farmland, with hedgerows being one of the last remaining semi-natural habitats that are available to wildlife. As a result, many of these farmland species have been relegated to hedgerows. Many animals, including dormice, hibernating hedgehogs, and nesting birds, as well as insects such as butterflies and beetles, live within hedgerows.
Hedgerows offer a fantastic complementary habitat
Many species will utilise hedgerows for food, including flowers, leaves, insects, berries, or small mammals. Hedgerows can still contribute vital resources to species that might not make it their home. Some species will also rely on hedgerows for shelter from the elements or predators while they are out foraging.
Hedgerows are a way for wildlife to connect with the surrounding landscape
Hedgerows also enable wildlife to move between the surrounding landscape. In this way they encourage the proliferation of wildlife and an increase in the connections between different species. They connect populations of wildlife that might otherwise be vulnerable or isolated.
What wildlife are helped?
Bats and hedgerows
Bats will use hedgerows in order to travel to other feeding sites from their roosts. For bats that have limited echo location capabilities, such as the Pipistrelle, having a proper network of sufficiently connected hedgerows near to their roosts is highly important. Bats will typically use the hedgerows as their feeding sites, exploiting the larger population of flying insects.
Hedgerow trees can also make valuable roosting sites for various species of bat which choose to live in the crevices of the bark or in rot holes.
Birds and hedgerows
Hedgerows provide nesting, feeding, and roosting opportunities that might otherwise be scarce within the agricultural landscape. Hedgerows are massively important for the native birds of Britain. As much as 16 of the 19 different birds included within the Farmland Bird Index have been associated with hedgerows, and 10 of these use hedgerows for their primary habitat.
The base of a hedge is really important for many species of nesting bird. The number of individual birds and bird species will tend to increase with the size of the hedge. A dense hedge that has good cover, especially in the lower metre of a hedge, tends to increase the population size of birds. This could likely be because of a reduction in the chance of predation that these birds experience by making sure that they are living in these places. Hedge height is also important because taller hedges tend to support a greater amount of nesting pairs and bird diversity.
HedgePlants are suppliers of container-grown, ready for planting hedging. We supply a large range and variety of hedging for your garden, from low maintenance hedging to topiary. As a gardener, you know the value of a well-maintained hedge. Hedges provide natural screening and privacy, define garden spaces and areas, and can even form distinctive features in stunning landscape designs. All our hedging is container-grown in the UK making them fully acclimatised to British conditions. We ensure that every hedge is ready to plant straight from the container and is in prime condition for its new owner. Take a look at our website www.hedgeplants.com where you’ll find much information that will help you choose the right hedging for you and your garden.