About Hedgerow Surveys

We undertake hedgerow surveys in relation to the Hedgerow Regulations (1997). This standard survey is aimed at identifying important hedgerows.

All native hedgerows are now classified as Section 41: Habitats of Principal Importance in England under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006.

All hedgerows have wildlife value for species such as invertebrates, birds, mammals and amphibians. They are an intrinsic feature of the UK’s landscape forming a linear latticework of wildlife refuges within an often intensively farmed landscape.

Sometimes forming the woodland boundaries of what was once Britain’s ancient wildwood, ancient hedgerows tend to support the greatest diversity of plants and animals. These hedges were in existence before the Enclosure Acts, passed mainly between 1720 and 1840 in Britain. Hedgerows planted following the Enclosures Acts were often planted in straight lines and enclosed larger field systems reflecting increases in the mechanisation of farming practices and the desire for higher yields. Best described by Oliver Rackham in his classic book The History of the Countryside (1986), Rackham divides Britain into distinct areas of ancient countryside and planned countryside based on these field patterns and origins.

Britain’s hedgerows have suffered great losses particularly in the immediate post-war period (1946 – 63), where hedgerows were lost at an alarming rate of some 3,000 miles per year. In the 1950s, the the forestry commission, (now Forestry England https://www.forestryengland.uk/) estimated that there was one million kilometres of hedgerow in the U.K. By 2007 it was estimated that there were 477.00 km of hedgerow remaining, representing more than a 50% loss in little over 50 years.

Our Hedgerow Survey Services

We have undertaken numerous hedgerow surveys across England, Wales and the Isle of Man. These include significant strategic surveys for linear developments such as pipeline routes and new road schemes.

Our hedgerows surveys are carried out in full accordance with the Hedgerow Regulations (1997) survey methodology. This rigorous survey divides hedgerows in standardised 30m long sampling points between defined hedge end points. Average calculations of native ‘woody’ species diversity are then done together with recording other associated features such as hedge flora diversity and ancient indicator plant species, hedge banks, number of mature trees and connectivity to other hedges or features of ecological value. The assimilation of this and other data then allows an evaluation of whether the surveyed hedge meets the criteria of being an ‘important hedgerow’ according to the guidelines.

Examples of  our work with Hedgerow Surveys

Highways Agency – A5 / M6 toll road improvement scheme

Leicestershire, and the A1M upgrade, North Yorkshire

Lancashire County Council

Heysham to M6 Link Road

Lancashire County Council

Broughton by-pass

National Grid Gas Pipelines in Cumbria

Lancashire and Cheshire

British Gypsum


Taylor Wimpey Limited

Numerous sites across Lancashire and Cheshire

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