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Hidden Hedgerows

Working with volunteers and apprentices to survey the extent, distribution and condition of hedgerows in the area. Then carrying out maintenance and conservation work.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust are training and working with volunteers and apprentices to carry out a comprehensive hedgerow survey. This will identify the extent, distribution and condition of hedgerows in the scheme area. The information will guide the future management and enhancement or restoration of hedgerows in the area.

Young people enrolled on the Valley Futures apprenticeship programme will also be trained in traditional Cumbrian hedgelaying skills, enabling them to carry out restoration work and achieve a work based diploma in Environmental Conservation.

A hedgerow information guide and digital map will provide people with an understanding of the condition and characteristics of hedgerows in the Rusland Horizons scheme area and help them appreciate and understand the value and issues associated with this habitat.

Aims and benefits:

  • For the first time it will be possible to identify the extent, distribution and condition of hedgerows in the scheme area. This will inform best practice for future management and enhancement/restoration of hedgerows.
  • People will be more aware about where they can visit and access good examples of species rich hedgerows.
  • The information guide will help people appreciate and understand the value and issues associated with this habitat.
Images:
© G. Jackson Pitt

So far so good...

Update June 2018:...

  • 3 training sessions delivered
  • 19 volunteers trained in hedgerow survey techniques.
  • over 200 individual hedges surveyed
  • 57 sq km of the scheme area have been surveyed and mapped.

Here are some early results from the surveys:

  • An average of 6 species per 30m of hedgerow were recorded, but species-rich hedgerows contained as many as 13 species per 30m.
  • 55% of hedges showed evidence of having been laid in the past, though only 4% had been laid recently.
  • 50% of hedges had been flailed and 36% had not been managed at all.

Did you know?

Nationally some 600 plant species, 1500 insects, 65 birds and 20 mammals have been recorded in conjunction with hedges. For more information on the importance of hedgerows go to the Hedgelink website.

Download the Hidden Hedgrows Project Leaflet below

Project Lead

Cumbria Wildlife Trust

The Challenge

Hedgerows are very important for wildlife, including rare and threatened species such as brown hare, hazel dormouse, pipistrelle bat, red squirrel and barn owl. They create valuable corridors, enabling wildlife to migrate from site to site. But ancient and/or species rich hedgerows are thought to have declined by some 30% in Cumbria since the 1940s, and this means that habitats are becoming increasing fragmented and isolating species populations.

Our Approach

The overall aim of the Hidden Hedgerows Project is to ‘Increase connectivity and reduce fragmentation of hedgerow habitat in the Rusland Horizons scheme area’. Enhancing and restoring hedgerow habitat is a key task in mitigating the effects of climate change.

This project will tackle barriers in current demand for information and access to hedgerows by providing volunteers with the skills to identify and survey hedgerows.

The surveys and restoration undertaken by the fully trained volunteers and apprentices will provide an invaluable insight into the extent, distribution and condition of hedgerows in the scheme area.

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2018. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons is a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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