Hedgerow Heroes smash it again – do you want to join them next time?


Some 31 kilometres of hedgerow were planted or restored during the autumn and winter of 2023-4 (pic Julie Davies)

The third year of CPRE’s Hedgerow Heroes project has come to a close, with planting and restoration targets exceeded and thousands of volunteers actively making a difference in their community for nature and climate.
The Hedgerow Heroes project, which is corporate-funded, began three years ago and supports local CPREs in mobilising their communities to plant and restore hedgerows, with 31 kilometres planted or restored during the autumn and winter of 2023-4.
For phase 3, collaboration and partnership took centre stage. From local schools to conservation charities and farmers, CPRE groups have worked with more than 100 organisations, 2,614 volunteers, 363 children and more than 100 leaders and trainers. Regular meetings took place with participating groups who were more connected than ever, sharing inspiration and best practice to deliver our biggest and best Hedgerow Heroes project yet.
Nine local CPRE groups took part in phase 3 of the Hedgerow Heroes project. Groups from Avon & Bristol, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, London, Oxfordshire, Peak District & South Yorkshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Suffolk have each coordinated their own hedgerow-related activities, from talks to training sessions and planting days.
We’ll look at just two: our neighbours London and Suffolk.

London
Engaging with communities across the city and borough, CPRE London has been supporting community planting and helping people build hedgerow knowledge and skills. From hedge-laying training to hedgerow walks and talks, the group helped strengthen the relationship that local people have with their green spaces and provided amazing volunteering opportunities.

Suffolk
With so many of our hedgerows on farmland, CPRE Suffolk worked closely with farmers as part of its project to restore and regenerate hedgerows on agricultural land. The group worked with the Stour Valley Farmer Cluster and focused on connecting habitats close to public footpaths – not only boosting habitat quality but local access to nature. The work has engaged farmers across the county and inspired many to plant their own hedgerows, showing the power of working together for positive change.

Hedgerow Heroes phase 3 has been an enormous success, with every local group planting or restoring miles of hedgerow as well as connecting their communities to nature. Lorraine Ray, Hedgerow Heroes project manager, said: “The Hedgerow Heroes project has brought people together in local communities, rejuvenating and creating miles of hedgerow across farmland, parks and green spaces. Hundreds of people have learnt rural skills and appreciate the value of hedgerows for wildlife and our environment.”

Find out more
You can find out more about local hedgerow restoration projects by contacting your local group at office@cpre-essex.org.uk 
At CPRE, we have been campaigning for hedgerows many years. Hedgerows are the unsung heroes of our countryside, providing a home for wildlife, connecting people to nature and helping us tackle climate change. Most recently, we released a report on how we should approach hedgerow-planting to meet the Defra targets, which you can find more about here.