Life on the hedge

Every hedge counts, according to Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who is encouraging South Glos residents to health-check the region’s “secret weapon” to help safeguard their future.

The Metro Mayor has thrown his weight behind ‘Hedgelife Help Out’ organised by the Countryside Charity by encouraging residents in South Glos to help him build a picture of how healthy the region’s hedgerows are.

This is because, since the Second World War, hedges have been removed at a much faster rate than they have been planted. That’s bad news for the region, not least for West of England wildlife – including our pollinator superstars – that rely on them.

Taking part in Hedgelife Help Out is very simple. All residents have to do is download the Big Help Out app, register and then go find a short piece of hedge near you and fill in the short online form answering a few simple questions. You can also use the charity’s rough guide around the hedges to help you.

The Countryside Charity will use this information to find out how hedgegrows can be improved in South Glos, and right across the country. That’s vital as hedges could play a key role in the West hitting its net-zero-by-2030 target as they directly offset dirty emissions, Mr Norris said.

Hedgelife Help Out is all part of The Big Help Out – the national volunteering effort backed by Mr Norris and his West of England Mayoral Combined Authority to mark last weekend’s coronation. It’ll also be a fun activity whether you choose to do it solo or with friends, family or your local community group, he added.

He said: “The hedges that criss-cross the West of England are not only an iconic sight, they’re an absolutely vital habitat for wildlife in the region – including our precious pollinators. And as giant carbon vaults, they’re key to fighting the climate crisis we all face, not to mention being excellent flood fighters. In short, they’re this region’s secret weapon. But hedgerows in South Glos need our help.

“So whether you’re part of a wildlife group or just interested in these unsung heroes of the countryside, this survey is for you. Let’s all do our bit to support our hedgerow helpers to survive and thrive.”