CPRE Avon and Bristol to rescue 118km of South Gloucestershire’s hedgerows

By Sophie Spencer
5th April 2022

CPRE Avon and Bristol has received a grant for an exciting Hedgerow Heroes project in South Gloucestershire. The project will empower people and communities to overhaul the management of 118km of hedgerows alongside South Gloucestershire’s footpaths to help them thrive.

Hedgerows are the vital stitching in the patchwork of our countryside. They are beautiful with shifting seasonal colours, they provide homes and corridors for wildlife and they tackle the climate crisis by locking in carbon.

David Worskett, Chair of CPRE Avon and Bristol, said, “Our hedgerows are vital to our countryside and they could do so much more for the climate and ecological emergencies. Sadly half our hedgerows have been ripped out since the second world war. Years of aggressive machine management techniques like flailing have left them battered and struggling to recover. We’re really excited to be working with South Gloucestershire Council to explore how more sensitive, expert and people powered management can help our hedgerows recover and thrive. This project can in due course provide a model for the rest of the country to follow.”

The charity is calling on local people as well as Parish and Town Councils to join a team of Hedgerow Heroes who will learn how sensitively to manage hedgerows before getting out into the countryside to put their new skills to work by giving our hedgerows the TLC they so badly need.

Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council said, “We are delighted to partner with CPRE Avon and Bristol for this exciting new hedgerow management project. Hedgerows are such an important habitat within our landscapes and are home to a variety of wildlife. Some of South Gloucestershire’s hedgerows date back hundreds if not thousands of years and protecting and enhancing them is part of our commitment to the climate and nature emergency. This project will focus on hedges owned by the council, and we look forward to working with town and parish councils and residents to understand our hedges better and ensure they are properly managed for the future.”

CPRE is calling on the UK government for a 40% increase in hedgerows by 2050. This will require adding over 4,000 miles of new and restored hedgerow per year. This project starting in June will provide a local response to this national ambition.

To register your interest in supporting the Hedgerow Heroes project, please visit: www.cpreavonandbristol.org.uk/hedgerowheroes

A group of people looking at hedgerows
Quernmore landscape