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Hedgerow Heroes phase 3: nine new local CPRE hedgerow projects

We are now in to the third year of CPRE’s Hedgerow Heroes project, with nine transformative hedgerow projects planned by local CPRE groups across England.

Hedgerow Heroes is a project continually growing in ambition, as local groups work hard to restore and regenerate our ever-important hedgerow networks. The project represents an opportunity for communities to mobilise at a local level, improving landscapes and making a huge difference to local environments.

During the 2022-23 phase, seven local groups planted almost 19km of new hedgerow and restored over 8km, massively exceeding targets in both areas. Beyond the physical planting, the passion and enthusiasm in our local groups have resulted in a whole host of positive outcomes for the local community. By building close connections with volunteers, landowners, wildlife lovers and schools, our local CPREs are enacting real, meaningful change, and we couldn’t be prouder.

For 2023-24, nine exciting and varied projects are set to take place – read on to find out all about them.

CPRE London

CPRE London will be planting 2km of new native hedgerow and restoring up to 200m of hedgerow around London’s Green Belt and local green spaces.

A group of volunteers digging a trench for a hedgerow to be planted
CPRE London will focus on some of the more nature-depleted areas of London | CPRE London

This project aims to enhance local landscapes that are deprived of green space. They plan to work with the London Friends of Green Spaces Network and various community groups to connect people with nature and their countryside next door. Skills and learning sessions will be offered on surveying, planting, hedgelaying and maintenance, and helping people to understand the importance and value of hedgerows in their countryside next door.

CPRE Shropshire

CPRE Shropshire plans to plant up to 5km of new hedgerow, delivered with the help of volunteers. In the north of the county, they will work with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and local farmers. They will be running an engagement programme to attract new volunteers and broaden the awareness of the importance of hedgerows. Around the county, there will be online talks, walks and hands-on training days, with hedgelaying training courses and workshops in hedgerow management and coppicing. The group will also be hosting creative art workshops, and offering surveying opportunities. They will be working closely with farmers, landowners and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

Carrying long straight hedgerow branches for laying
CPRE Shropshire will run hedgelaying training sessions | Russel Critchley

CPRE Oxfordshire

CPRE Oxfordshire will be working in partnership with Wild Oxfordshire, a local charity specialising in community environmental projects. They will be working with parishes and community groups across seven locations, planting over 2km of new hedgerows and restoring 525m in three areas. Around 170 volunteers will be involved and there are four hedgelaying training days planned, giving skills to volunteers to take care for local hedges and inspiring them to share their knowledge.

A joint display stall at an event by CPRE Oxfordshire and Wild Oxfordshire with various leaflets and greenery decoration
CPRE Oxfordshire will be working with Wild Oxfordshire | CPRE Oxfordshire

They will build on previous Hedgerow Heroes work with communities to develop a better understanding of the importance of hedges and offer opportunities for practical involvement and engagement. Most importantly, they will be supporting more communities to achieve their vision for enhanced local hedgerows.

CPRE Hampshire

CPRE Hampshire is working on The Hampshire Hedge, which aims to connect the South Downs and New Forest National Parks over the next three years. During this phase, they will be planting 3km of hedge and restoring 500m. They will be working with a variety of different partners including wildlife trusts, parish councils and schools. They will be offering hedgelaying training, some of which will be accredited.

Two volunteers hedgelaying
One of CPRE Hampshire’s hedgelaying sessions from 2022-23 | CPRE Hampshire

Students and community groups will be getting involved in various aspects of hedgerow creation and management, carrying out bat, bird and invertebrate surveys as well as planting and laying hedges. Local community groups can also apply to their Community Hedge Fund to plant or restore their own hedgerows, such as on school grounds.

CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire

CPRE Peak District & South Yorkshire are rejuvenating Haythornthwaite Wood, named after one of the founders of CPRE, Ethel Haythornthwaite. Planted in 1994 by the charity, it is within Sheffield’s Green Belt and just a mile from the Peak District National Park. 100m of restoration is planned, working alongside Sheffield City Council and community groups such as the Dore Village Society. Once the work is complete, they hope to host their centenary celebrations around the wood!

Volunteers enjoying Hawthornethwaite Wood
CPRE Peak District & South Yorkshire volunteers enjoying Haythornthwaite Wood | CPRE Peak District & South Yorkshire

CPRE Avon & Bristol

CPRE Avon and Bristol will be working on improving the management of hedgerows with Bath and North East Somerset Council as well as supporting parish councils with their Local Area Nature Plans. They will be planting and restoring 1.8km of hedge with a team of roving volunteers, focusing on the Bristol to Bath cycle path. They will be delivering hedgerow kitbags to schools and plan to spread the word with walks, talks and events.

The CPRE Avon & Bristol Hedgerow Heroes volunteers in 2022
Some of CPRE Avon & Bristol’s volunteers from 2022-23 | CPRE Avon & Bristol

CPRE Staffordshire

CPRE Staffordshire will be planting and restoring around 4km of hedgerow around the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). They will be working with Staffordshire County Council amongst others and will be reaching out to a range of communities in the area. They are keen to highlight the therapeutic benefits of being outside in nature and will be offering training and practical planting days.

Deer in Cannock Chase Forest
CPRE Staffordshire will be working in the Cannock Chase AONB | Photo by Rebecca Prest on Unsplash

CPRE Suffolk

CPRE Suffolk will be doing a combination of planting and restoration work with a strong element of surveying. Working with Stour Valley Farmer Cluster among others, they will also be working in the Dedham Vale AONB. They have developed an app, which volunteers use to survey and map hedgerows, reporting on hedge health and suitable sites for hedgerow work. There will be training in heritage skills and they are keen to increase biodiversity, to provide hedgerow corridors to link woodlands, and close to public rights of way. They plan to coppice around a kilometre and plant about 2.5km.

An aerial view of the Dedham Vale AONB with a top down shot of a rowing boat on the river
CPRE Suffolk will be working in the Dedham Vale AONB | Photo by Jack Coble on Unsplash

CPRE Gloucestershire

CPRE Gloucestershire plans to restore 1km of hedgerow with a mixture of planting and laying. They will be working with FWAG (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group) and The Tree Council. They will offer training in hedgelaying and planting to local community volunteers as well as opportunities to join practical planting sessions and talks. They will be planting native fruit trees characteristic of the area, providing foraging opportunities for the future.

Two people walking along the Cotswold Way in Gloucestershire
CPRE Gloucestershire are hoping to restore a kilometre of hedgerow | Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash
Close-up of older men learning about hedgelaying from instructor
Sarah Jameson / CPRE Shropshire


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