Hedgerows

Habitat Description

About 84% of hedgerows are covered by this definition. A hedgerow is defined as any boundary line of trees or shrubs over 20m long and less than 5m wide, and where any gaps between the trees or shrub species are less than 20m wide. All hedgerows consisting predominantly (i.e. 80% or more cover) of at least one woody native species are covered by this priority habitat. Up to 33% of all hedgerows can be described as ancient and/or species rich. Many of these are the remnants of ancient woodlands that have been left to enclose fields. To meet this definition, hedgerows must have one of the following:

  • Five or more woody species per 30m section,
  • Fewer woody species but a rich basal flora,
  • Predate the Enclosure Acts (1720 1870).

  Ancient hedgerows are often found along Parish boundaries, streams and ancient roads and tracks. Enclosure hedgerows are found on early enclosures starting in the 13th Century. Hedgerows contain important ancient and veteran trees, which are often the oldest remaining historic link to the past. Some may have Tree Preservation Orders but most will be remnants of ancient woodland or will date back to when the site was enclosed.

Current UK Status and Trends

Substantial decline; 21% between 1984 and 1998.

Estimated Current Northants Resource

In the region of 13000 km (1982 survey).

Progress Towards BAP Targets 2002-2007

80% of farmers now within ELS with improved hedgerow management, covering at least one side of a total of 11,930 km of hedgerow.

Lead Partner

Natural England

Main Issues and Threats

  • Under threat from the growth agenda; with large lengths being taken out for new housing development.
  • Loss due to inappropriate management (over cutting, grazing, and spray drift).
  • Becoming defunct due to lack of suitable management laying, coppicing, and suitable cutting regime.
  • Increased field size through the removal of hedges.
  • Replacement of hedges with fencing that is cheaper to maintain.

General Strategy

  • Specific target areas include the Nene Valley, Rockingham Forest and Yardley-Whittlewood Ridge.
  • Sympathetic management through Entry Level Scheme, encouraging farmers to join and use the enhanced hedgerow management option.
  • Planting new hedgerows and restoration of existing hedgerows funded primarily through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme.

Additional Information

Achieving condition (hedgerow trees): Management must be in place for 2 trees per 100m to reach a diameter of 15cm plus. Current work by the Tree Council is highlighting the importance of hedgerow trees and they are also running a Tree Tagging campaign. Agri-environment schemes will also be able to encourage tagging and new planting where appropriate. A review of incentives, particularly in Entry Level schemes may be needed to encourage retention of young trees.

Expansion: Hedgerows must contain entirely native species including a number of tree-forming species such as ash and oak. Appropriate management must be put in place.

 Associated National Priority Species

  • August thorn (moth)
  • Barred tooth-striped
  • Brindled beauty
  • Centre-barred sallow
  • Common bullfinch
  • Corn bunting
  • Dormouse
  • Dot moth
  • Double dart
  • Dusky-lemon sallow
  • Dusky thorn
  • Eurasian tree sparrow
  • Figure of eight
  • Goat moth
  • Green-brindled crescent
  • Grey dagger
  • Grey partridge
  • Hedge accentor
  • House sparrow
  • Linnet
  • Oak hook-tip
  • Pale eggar
  • Pretty chalk carpet
  • Shaded broad-bar
  • Small emerald
  • Song thrush
  • Spotted flycatcher
  • The lackey
  • The streak
  • White letter hairstreak
  • White-spotted pinion
  • Yellowhammer
Specific Management Required for Associated Species

Species

Northamptonshire Status

Management Prescriptions

Key Sites

Dormouse

Rare

Survey hedgerows around dormouse woodlands. Actively manage hazel coppice within hedgerows.

Unknown

Eurasian tree sparrow

Breeding

Sensitive management of hedgerows and retention of dead trees.

Summer Leys

White letter hairstreak

Frequent

Maintain Elm where present.

Unknown

Targets

Target Code

Target Type

Target Description

Target Units

Northants Baseline Resource

Target

By

Unit Cost £

Total Cost £

NOR_HDG_T1

Maintain Extent

Maintain the current extent of hedgerows (no net loss).

Kilometers

13,000

No net loss

2015

200/km/yr

2.6 million/yr

NOR_HDG_T2

Restoration

Restore appropriate management to 50% (535 km) of hedgerows not currently under agri-environment schemes by 2015.

Kilometers

11,930

12,465

2015

8000/km

4.28 million initial

NOR_HDG_T3

Achieving Condition

Increase the number of new young hedgerow trees by 800 by 2015 (equal to rejuvenating or planting 40 km of hedgerow).

Number of trees

0

800

2015

4.50/tree

3,600

NOR_HDG_T4

Expansion

Increase the extent of species-rich hedgerows by 40 km by 2015. New hedgerows to include hedgerow trees.

Kilometers

0

40

2015

5,300/km

212,000 initial

Actions

Action Code

Action Description

Lead Partner

Support Partner(s)

Related Target

NOR_HDG_FI_A1

Through section 106 agreements/new developments ensure that all species-rich hedgerows are maintained and 40 km newly created.

Developers, Local Authorities

The Wildlife Trust, Natural England

NOR_HDG_T1 & T3

NOR_HDG_CA_A2

Identify hedgerows which are currently over-managed or in poor condition in the target areas of the Nene Valley, Rockingham Forest and Yardley-Whittlewood Ridge and provide maintenance and enhancement advice to landowners

The Wildlife Trust

Natural England

NOR_HDG_T2

NOR_HDG_HC_A3

Restore 535 km of hedgerows through the inclusion of appropriate prescriptions in Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements for the management and enhanced management of hedgerows (ELS options EB2 and EB3)

Natural England

FWAG, RNRP

NOR_HDG_T2

NOR_HDG_HC_A4

Plant new hedgerow tree species, appropriate to the locality. The priority should be for reinstating landscape boundary features

The Wildlife Trust

 

NOR_HDG_T3