Creating a new Devon hedge is a major task. The difficult part is building the bank – this requires skill and time, and can be costly. However, new Devon hedges are very worthwhile for all sorts of reasons: as wildlife habitat, to enhance the landscape, to restore historical field patterns, etc. They are also an excellent way of establishing new hedgerow trees.
New hedges are especially useful where they follow the lines of hedges that were removed in the drive to increase agricultural production, where they join up gaps in the network, and alongside existing hedges to create green lanes. Replacing former hedges will help restore the historical integrity of the countryside, while joining up gaps will help plants and animals to move freely and safely through the landscape. Green lanes are especially good for wildlife such as insects because of the warm, sheltered conditions they create.
Detailed practical guidance is given in Devon Hedge Creation: new turf faced banks and planting. This covers both traditional bank-building methods and new ones such as the use of hessian sacks. It also covers the best ways to plant shrubs and trees on the new bank. Maintaining and repairing turf and stone facing gives guidance on how to build stone-faced banks. Also see the video How to repair a stone-faced hedge at the bottom of this page.
Devon field boundaries: restoration standards for agri-environment schemes gives additional technical information, and Devon hedges and development 2: Pipelines deals with restoring gaps in hedges. See also Hedge planting: answers to 18 common questions, and, for new garden hedges, Devon hedges at home.
The Distinctive hedge map gives clues about which native species of tree and shrub are characteristic of each major part of Devon, and so may be most appropriate to plant in your area.