Hedgerows are absolutely teeming with wildlife; one study in particular found 2,070 different species in a single stretch of 85 metres! The importance of the hedgerow network to the country simply cannot be overstated, especially since there is a worrying decline in wildlife going on at the moment. Amongst all the other benefits that hedgerows have to offer us, they can provide us with three primary excellent services for wildlife.
Hedgerows provide wildlife with a physical home
Many animals, including dormice, hibernating hedgehogs, and nesting birds, as well as insects such as butterflies and beetles, live within hedgerows. 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.
Hedgerows are a brilliant complementary habitat
Hedgerows can still contribute vital resources to species that might not make it their home. For instance, many species will utilise hedgerows for food, including flowers, leaves, insects, berries, or small mammals. Some species will also rely on hedgerows for shelter from the elements or predators while they are out foraging.
Hedgerows are a way to connect the surrounding landscape
Hedgerows also enable wildlife to move between the surrounding landscape. They connect populations of wildlife that might otherwise be vulnerable or isolated. In this way they encourage the proliferation of wildlife and an increase in the connections between different species.
Hedgerows and bats
Bats will typically use hedgerows as their feeding sites, exploiting the larger population of flying insects. They will also use them 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.
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.
Hedgerows and birds
Hedgerows are massively important for the native birds of Britain. They provide nesting, feeding, and roosting opportunities that might otherwise be scarce within the agricultural landscape. 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 number of individual birds and bird species will tend to increase with the size of the hedge. The base of a hedge is really important for many species of nesting bird. A dense hedge that has good cover, especially in the lower metre of a hedge, tends to increase the population size of birds. Hedge height is also important because taller hedges tend to support a greater amount of nesting pairs and bird diversity. 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.
Readyhedge are a responsible and ethical nursery, situated in the south of Worcestershire. We specialise in growing instant hedging in metre-long lengths, available in either Readyhedge bags or Readyhedge troughs. The heights of our hedges range from 30cm tall up to 200cm tall, and we offer a great, diverse range of hedges for your availability.
If you want more information about who we are, what we do and how we can help you grow the most beautiful of hedges, then take a look at our website www.readyhedgeltd.com or give us a call on 01386 750 585 for any advice you may need – we would be very happy to help you out!