The Devon Hedge Group draws together a wide range of organisations and individuals interested in conserving Devon’s hedges. We raise awareness of and interest in the county’s extraordinary hedge heritage, so it may survive long into the future. We also provide guidance and training from experts on hedge management (including traditional hedge laying, wildlife-friendly trimming, and hedge planting and restoration), and influence policy and funding to benefit hedges.
Formed in 1994, the group arranged a Devon Year of the Hedge in 2014 to celebrate its 20th year. We are the longest running local hedge group in the country.
Over the years we have succeeded in generating a great deal of media attention, and have done much to raise the profile of hedges in the county. We have produced a number of quality publications, including, in 2014, the book Devon Hedges, and have been commended by a House of Commons Select Committee for our work.
In many years we arrange a Devon Hedge Week, usually in the autumn half term, during which a programme of hedge-related events takes place across the county. We have organised an annual Hedge Laying Competition (including a novice section), to recognise and reward good practice in hedge management. We currently run the Devon Hedge Award which focusses on different issues each year.
Past achievements include commissioning and publishing research on the economics of hedge cutting, running a major project called Green Lanes and Veins which resulted in, among other things, an oral history, a map of distinctive hedge types across the county and several hedge trails, producing practical instruction videos on hedge laying and stone-faced banking, and publishing a guide to the management and production of woodfuel from hedges.
The Group does not have a formal membership system and no subscription is necessary to participate. If you wish to join us – and everyone with an interest in any aspects of hedges is welcome – simply ask for your name to be added to our email list – contact [email protected]. You are then welcome to attend our full group meetings if you wish.
The Group usually meets three times a year, and is served by a Publicity Committee which holds quarterly meetings.
Participating organisations represent the full range of interests associated with hedges in Devon, including agriculture, the conservation of wildlife and landscape, and historical and cultural values. They include local government, in particular Devon County Council and Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities, Natural England, North Devon Biosphere Service, FWAG SW, National Farmers Union, Country Land and Business Association, Devon Rural Skills Trust, Blackdown Hills Hedge Association, RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), Devon Wildlife Trust, and a number of individual farmers and contractors.