Earlier this year, CPRE Staffordshire was named as one of nine successful CPRE groups chosen to take part in the national ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ campaign.
Now in its third year, ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ is an ambitious project that aims to plant, restore and regenerate hedgerows across a range of landscapes, whilst encouraging local communities to reconnect with nature and participate in activities that improve local biodiversity.
Why focus on hedgerows?
Hedgerows are an iconic and beloved feature of our countryside that provide a wealth of hidden benefits that not only support our health and wellbeing, but that of our wider environment. When managed sensitively, a network of connected and healthy hedgerows provides safe habitat, passage, food and breeding resources for some of our most vulnerable wildlife species, with studies conducted in 2015 counting 2,070 species in just one 85m stretch.
Hedgerows also help to mitigate the impact of climate-related events by storing carbon, reducing air and water pollution, and preventing soil and wind erosion during times of flooding and drought. These benefits are particularly valuable to the 70% of UK land under agricultural use, where the presence of hedgerows not only provides food and shelter for livestock, but helps to increase the presence of pollinators and reduce the risk of disease and pests that impact upon the success of arable farming.
In short, hedgerows not only form part of our countryside heritage, but are essential to secure the future of our natural environment, our food and our health. It is therefore devastating to know that over 50% of all UK hedgerows have been lost in the last 75 years, with the remaining fragments at increased risk of damage, decay and disease.
What can we do to help in Staffordshire?
The Hedgerow Heroes project provides us with an exciting opportunity to support the future of hedgerows in Staffordshire. Together, we aim to plant and restore over 2km of hedgerow (that’s 10,000 plants) at multiple sites around the county, including in urban areas, public spaces, wildlife reserves and agricultural landscapes.
This project also provides us with wonderful opportunities to help communities engage with their local environments and help protect and improve our countryside, as well as our collective health and wellbeing.
How can I help?
Join our enthusiastic and friendly team of Hedgerow Heroes!
Whether you’re passionate about planting (no experience necessary), wonderful with words, art or photography, an inspirational educator, or fabulous at making cups of tea, we need you! We have a range of volunteering opportunities available within the project, and are seeking supporters to help with the practical, social, publicity, digital, educational and wellbeing aspects of the project.
In return you will have the opportunity to learn new skills, meet like-minded people, make a positive difference to our local hedgerows and have the support and guidance of our team.
Project activities will take place within the planting season (November – March), and all roles can be adapted to accommodate your involvement. Sign up here to volunteer, or contact the project team via email: email@example.com.