At the end of last year, a farmer close to where I work altered the way he cut back his hedgerows. In order to increase the available area behind a hedge which stands in front of his milking parlour he cut back the hedgerow to it’s thinnest possible amount. I said at the time that he was wrong to do so because the now see-through hedgerow had been home to many birds, with evidence of old nests which now fell out from lack of support structure. He demured and stated his need for more space.
Today, with Gale Force 7 winds ripping across the Gloucestershire countryside, at least four middle aged trees that stood at various points in his hedge have gone over. Heavy with untended ivy, and with no hedgerow to shield their bases from the winds, they’ve been unable to stand the force of the gales. Many farms have reinstated hedges lost to the intensive farming techniques of the seventies and eighties. Some have even done the job properly, laying the hedges for strength and density, instead of simply flailing them to leave an ugly scar. I guess Nature is, today, providing guidance and reasons for retaining good hedge!