Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

One thing I adore about rural England is the hedgerows that crisscross the countryside

Just recently I grasped the importance of them

I could just blabber on and on about them

Hedges have been an important part of the British landscape since Roman times, and some of these hedges still survive. In the ancient countryside of Devon and Kent, the majority of existing hedges are medieval. They were a valuable part of the rural economy - marking boundaries, providing shelter, food, and timber.

If you drive in the English countryside, try using ‘Hooper’s Rule’: count the number of tree and shrub species in a 30 yard stretch of hedge. This number will roughly equal the age of the hedge in centuries. They say this works back to 1,100 years ago. (Of course recent planted mixed hedges would be an exception.)

From 1947 to 1990, approximately 35% of hedgerows were destroyed to enable larger machinery to be used on farms. However, legislation was introduced in 1997 to protect hedgerows, which has led many hedges to be replanted or restored.

Hedgerows act as wildlife highways for many species, including cutie-pie hedgehogs, mice, voles, bats, and foxes. Of course, flowers are wonderful for the bees, butterflies, and other insects. Wildlife nibble on berries; birds nest in branches. It is quite a remarkable vibrant ecosystem. Yep, just one long nature reserve traversing the countryside!

Not only do hedges create great scenic value, they fence in livestock, clean the air next to roads, and act as a wind barrier and 'soundproofer'. As icing on the cake, they are a living wall that change color during the seasons. Makes me sing 'Laaaaa'!

An old English native hedge would have included a large variety of plantings. Hornbeam, beech, hawthorn, blackthorn, sweet briar rose, dogwood, hazel, and field maple still are used today. Throw in some holly, pyracantha, privet, viburnum, current, laurel, crabapple and/or spindleberry for a berry smorgasbord. Then dig in another ‘understory’ of plants and ferns to fill in at the bottom for a beautiful garden and animal refuge. Maintain it regularly to keep it healthy and thick (ooh, those are smoothie adjectives).

There are more than 30 styles of hedge-laying in different parts of the UK, depending on the climate of the area, local farming practices, soil condition, and types of trees and shrubs that grow well in the area. A few styles of hedge-laying are named ‘Midland Bullock’, ‘Welch Border’, and ‘Derbyshire’. And those names are not from Detroit, my friends.

Have I infected you with 'hedge-love' yet?!

Funny thing is, I thought I wouldn't have any photos for this post
Turns out, I've been clicking away at hedgerows since we moved here

Therefore, I can say...

all photos by me