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Hedgelife Help Out – CPRE volunteers and Groundwork staff at Williamthorpe

Peter Fox
By Peter Fox
31st May 2023

Hedgelife Help Out is a new volunteering activity launched by CPRE as part of the Coronation Big Help Out, with the aim of assessing the health of our hedgerows – our largest (unofficial) nature reserve!

Hedgelife Help Out has been put together by CPRE in collaboration with The Tree Council, and is a great taster and introduction to environmental and conservation volunteering. A group of us thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to revisit Williamthorpe Nature Reserve, where we’ve been laying hedges and planting new hedges over the winter and early spring, and try out the Hedgelife Help Out survey. It was lovely to see that the newly-planted hedging is springing into life and looking really healthy, and the stretch that the volunteers laid is full of leaf and blossom.

After admiring previous handiwork, the team spread out and found other stretches of mature hedge on the site to carry out the Hedgelife Help Out survey. It was really easy! You don’t need to be able to identify any trees – instead, you’re asked to look at leaf shapes and count them, estimate the height and thickness of the hedge, and to make other straightforward observations.

You’re then encouraged to spend some time listening and watching to see who else is enjoying the hedge – birds, bees, butterflies and more! These responses are then submitted online to help build up a picture of the state of the nation’s hedgerows. It was a wonderful opportunity not only to assess the health of the hedgerow but also just to spend time in nature, listening and watching.

Next, I’m going out to do another survey (or two!) on a different hedge with my granddaughters. It’s a simple and great thing to do with kids; after all, they’ll be the next custodians of our hedges and countryside!


Reflections by a CPRE volunteer

The group at Williamthorpe