CPRE Hampshire, the countryside charity, are behind a new campaign to help save the humble hedgerow, acknowledging the vital contribution hedgerows make to the health and diversity of our countryside, and even our climate. The photography competition, open to all ages, is part of the celebration of the role hedgerows play in our everyday lives.
A defining feature in the landscapes around us for over a thousand years, hedgerows are often undervalued. In reality, they are the unsung heroes of the countryside, playing an enormous role in providing pathways, shelter and sustenance for wildlife, as well as protecting the soil, cleaning the air and absorbing carbon emissions. Hedgerows are the most versatile nature-based solution to climate change we have to offer.
Since 1945, we have lost half our hedgerows, intensifying nature's decline and hindering the fight against climate change. CPRE Hampshire is determined to help in turning this round by drawing attention to the important role hedgerows play, as well as undertaking projects around restoring and planting. They are already working on an ambitious project in the South West of Hampshire to restore and plant hedgerows on the Meyrick Estate, involving two local schools, the local Young Farmers and a team of volunteers.
Boyd McCleary, CPRE Hampshire Vice-Chair said: “Hedgerows need our help. Around 50% of this country’s hedgerows have disappeared since the Second World War and many more have been seriously degraded or are otherwise under threat. Through our work with hedgerows, we are hoping to demonstrate their value and bring their plight to many more people.”
The CPRE Hampshire Hedgerows Photography Competition is your opportunity to submit photographs that capture a hedgerow moment, whether it’s part of the landscape, a close up, the plants, the wildlife, the roots or the leaves. It might be sad, funny or uplifting. There are four age categories and you don’t need to be a professional or experienced photographer - anyone and everyone can enter.
Meanwhile, as part of a national campaign, CPRE Hampshire are pushing for government to set a target to increase the hedgerow network by 40%, by 2050 at the latest. This means over 4,000 miles of new and restored hedgerows every year.