Talk to the Hedge

The Tree Council’s programme to plant, protect and promote UK hedgerows receives £500k funding

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 31 May 2022

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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The Tree Council’s new Talk to the Hedge programme has been awarded a £500k grant from the £6 million Trees Call to Action Fund, led by Defra, the Forestry Commission and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Talk to the Hedge starts in June this year and will enable The Tree Council to continue to bring everyone together to plant, protect and promote the UK’s often undervalued hedgerows.

Why we need hedgerows

As the UK’s largest priority habitat, hedgerows are essential for biodiversity and support no less than 2,000 diverse species.

With their ability to lock away vast quantities of carbon, absorb pollution and reduce flooding, they are crucial in the fight against climate change.

However, since the second world war more than 50% of UK hedgerows have been lost.

‘We’re delighted that our work supporting hedgerows will continue to blossom for the next three years. It’s more important than ever that we take action to ensure that our hedgerows thrive and that we nurture the next generation of hedgerow guardians. There’s a whole world of exciting nature-based careers that people don’t know about – we hope to inspire people to explore them. Hedgerows are carbon-guzzling, wildlife-sheltering wonders and they are fundamental to creating a greener, healthier future for all of us and for our planet.’

SARA LOM
CEO of The Tree Council

New hedgerow projects

The new funding will secure the hedgerow programme to March 2025 and allow The Tree Council and partners (National Hedgelaying Society, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group and Another Way) to bring multiple projects and initiatives to fruit.

The funding will help to raise public awareness of the value of hedgerows through the annual National Hedgerow Week (17-25 September 2022) and increase UK tree stocks and sharing skills by establishing 18 new school and community group tree nurseries.

Projects will be created to safeguard the nation’s hedgerow heritage and engage the public with ancient crafts through a series of hedge-laying courses.

Young people will be encouraged to explore green space careers through annual ‘Discovery Days’ (28 September 2022) and the popular green jobs podcast, Life On The Hedge.

The funding will also be used to help smaller conservation charities develop their online presence, including the National Hedgelaying Society and Another Way, led by 19-year-old Cumbrian conservationist Amy Bray.

Better hedgerow management will be informed through a new Good Hedge Guide in 2023.

Connected hedgerows

Talk to the Hedge will allow The Tree Council to build on the legacy of last year’s Close the Gap programme, which ran for 18 months and focused on achieving bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows.

The project has already planted 53km of new hedgerow, restored 26km of older hedgerows and closed the gaps in important wildlife corridors with more than 2,500 hedgerow trees established.

400 ‘Copse in a Box’ will be despatched over this summer, enabling volunteers to launch their own community nurseries.

Grants for tree projects

The Trees Call to Action Fund supports projects that protect trees and woodlands, boost forestry skills and jobs, develop woodland creation partnerships and engage communities with nature.

The fund has distributed grants between £250,000 and £500,000 to be spent over three years, funding 12 projects across England. 

Other projects funded through this year’s Trees Call to Action Fund include six new Woodland Creation Partnerships across rural and urban areas; two projects to develop the skills and workforce of the trees and forestry sector and projects that engage people to plant an NHS forest and engage farmers to improve woodland.

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