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Hedgerow Heroes phase 2: explore this year’s projects

Lewis Townsend
By Lewis Townsend

Following the huge success of CPRE’s Hedgerow Heroes project in 2021-2, seven more CPRE groups across England are restoring and planting hedgerows during the next planting season. As part of National Hedgerow Week 2022, we want to share with you their plans….

Last year, the five groups that received funding planted 80% more hedgerow length than they originally set out to achieve, and engaged hundreds of enthusiastic hedge-lovers up and down the country. Our phase one groups set the bar very high, but we’ve got every hope that the groups this year will achieve their targets too!

Avon and Bristol

CPRE Avon and Bristol‘s project is quite unusual. It’s focussing on reducing the intensity of 118km of neatly managed local authority hedges. Hedgerows which are flayed or cut back annually don’t allow the hedgerow to grow and support a diversity of species. Also, an over-managed hedge stores much less carbon than a wide, busy hedge. They’ll work with local authorities, staff and councillors, and local communities to help them to understand the benefits of managing hedgerows less intensely. After all, a bushy hedge is a happy one – even if it’s a bit untidy!

The group will also be surveying the hedgerows to prioritise the planting of saplings (whips) where gaps have occurred in the hedges. Much of this work will be carried out by wonderful volunteers in the area.

As well as attending events, local fetes and fayres, the group will be working with schools. They’re even providing these schools with Hedgerow Hero bags, filled with great activities for primary school children.


CPRE Suffolk volunteers stood inside a chapel
CPRE Suffolk volunteers’ first get together at Chapel of St Stephen, Bures

The main focus of the CPRE Suffolk project is to plant great lengths of hedges on farmers fields in south Suffolk. The aim of this is to improve environmental corridors between habitats for wildlife – particularly the dormouse. It’s a collaborative project between Suffolk Preservation Society and the Stour Valley Farmer Cluster, who will manage the project. Planting will take place November to February this winter.

The project is set in the Dedham Vale AONB, and will strengthen the hedgerows and enhance the historic landscape.

The group will work with volunteers to survey the existing hedges and prioritise those needing urgent attention. These volunteers will also help with the planting and coppicing. The group will also be running hedgerow walks and talks and hedgerow lessons will be taken into schools.

East Midlands

Mareham Pastures Local Nature Reserve sign, Sleaford
Mareham Pastures in Sleaford; one of the many planting sites in the East Midlands | Lorraine Ray

The East Midlands project is comprised of four county groups: Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. There are 10 sites across these counties including a farm, city green spaces and suburban areas. The ethos of this project is centred on partnerships and involving local communities. The groups hope that they can raise awareness of hedgerows and encourage people to help to plant them! They’ll be working with city and county councils, Groundwork Trust, Tree Guardians, The Conservation Volunteers and Green Hustle. The Green Hustle will be encouraging diverse groups to get involved including a Muslim women’s group keen to learn more about hedgerows.

All the work will be done by volunteers. As part of the project, they hope to help some of their volunteers achieve AQA level qualifications for hedgelaying and planting.


People taking part in a hedgerow insect walk
Taking part in a hedgerow insect walk organised by CPRE Shropshire earlier this year | Sarah Jameson

The CPRE Shropshire project over 25 sites for hedgerow creation with a good spread across the county. These include five farms, smallholdings, schools, churchyards and grass verges. A further three sites will be used for hedgelaying training. There are 7 hedgelaying training days which will give volunteers skills that they can continue to use on their own land, farms, neighbour’s hedges and so on.

The group will also be running several events including walks, talks, tree identification, surveys and hedge management workshops. CPRE Shropshire will have a stall at several events, with games, displays, leaflets and a model hedge.

Ten ‘Story Sacks’ will be created for pre-school ages. These are cotton bags packed full of fun stuff that will help children learn about the importance of hedges. The bags will include the Happy Hedgerow book, finger puppets and felt leaves,  These will be put in lending libraries and taken into schools by the Shropshire AONB educational advisor who will take hedgy lessons.


This project will mostly be working on hedgerows on County Farms mainly along the coastal footpath. The group has already recruited volunteers who’ll be surveying the hedges –  looking at the butterflies and bumblebees as well as its general health. Training for this will be given by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species. Tenant farmers will also be helping to plant and restore hedgerows as part of the project.

Hampshire will be working with urban schools that have a high level of children on free school meals. They plan to introduce hedges to the school grounds and take children out on Experience Days to learn about the value of hedgerows in a fun way.

Lancashire, Liverpool and Greater Manchester

Woman stood in front of CPRE banner holding leaflet
CPRE’s Debbie McConnell at a hedgerow and hedgehog event held in Spring 2022

This project will take place at four sites: Oldham, Knowsley, Trafford and Countess of Cheshire Country Park. Oldham is a derelict brownfield site in an area of great deprivation, in need of renovation. There’s a big vision for the site including the provision of allotments and hedgerows. All the sites will be planted with hedgerows, with 10,000 whips obtained for free already! The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) will be managing the four projects, which will incorporate local volunteers with the aim to build teams and enhance skills. and delivering wellbeing and social benefits. There are also strong links with the Scouts, a diverse group who are based in a less prosperous area of Manchester. They will help to develop hedgerows in the Cheshire Country Park.

The project will fund a hedgelaying and maintenance qualification at a local college in conjunction with CPRE Cheshire. They hope to upskill people and help them towards gaining employment.


A hedgelaying training session in Northamptonshire on a grey day
Hedgelaying training session in Stoke Bruerne

This project is focussed on planting hedgerows in three different locations. In two of these, they’ll be developing hedgerows in public open spaces: one at Brixworth Parish Council and the other at Brackley Town Council. This work will greatly enhance the biodiversity of these areas and improve the access to wildlife rich green space for those that are visiting or playing in the parks. The binders for the top of the laid hedge will be coppiced locally.

The work will be carried out by volunteers from the local community, including the local primary school and the local agricultural college. A locally active Scout group are also kindly lending their support!

The third partner is the Canal and River Trust (CRT) who are going to improve canal-side hedgerows that have grown old and sparse or collapsed. They plan to involve the local communities that live near the canals to get involved and help to restore the hedges. Through this project, the CRT will also establish a wildflower and local tree nursery for growing the whips from seed to be planted along the canal towpath.

Share our passion for hedgerows?
A girl in a blue top sawing wooden stakes holding a hedgerow together
A young volunteer gets to grips with hedgelaying at a Young Rangers workshop held with CPRE Shropshire Joe Penfold


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