Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is promoting the creation of new native hedgerows and the maintenance of existing hedgerows for the benefit of its local wildlife.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe, said that hedgerows are an incredibly undervalued resource that are in danger of being lost from the countryside.
“Hedgerows are important for biodiversity and landscape character. They are of historical importance often marking townland or estate boundaries. They also provide colour, shelter and food; act as stock barriers; and prevent soil erosion. Mid and East Antrim Borough is committed to replanting, restoring and enhancing hedgerows,” he said.
Hedgerows are extremely important habitats for some of our best loved birds including wrens, robins, song thrushes, blackbirds and chaffinches. Hedgerows are also feeding and nesting sites for frogs, newts, insects and mammals including, of course, the hedgehog.
Amy Colvin from RSPB Northern Ireland said: “Changes in in the way we manage our countryside have had a real impact - fewer hedgerows and woodlands mean a loss of vital habitat for our spiky friends. Wooden or metal fences make it hard for hedgehogs to move from place to place. As they become isolated in smaller and smaller areas of greenery, they cannot feed or mate. It doesn’t matter if you have a garden wriggling and squirming full of worms, beetles and other bugs which hedgehogs love,” she said.
“If they can’t get in, they can’t benefit.
“By planting up native hedgerows, building ‘hog hotels’ and making a small hedgehog hole in their garden fence, local people can also play their part in giving hedgehogs a home now and into the future.”
Members of the public are invited to learn how to plant a native hedgerow and build hog hotels at The Day of the Hedgehog event at Eden Allotment Gardens, Saturday 21 November, 11am-1pm
Learn the ancient skill of hedge laying at MEA’s hedge laying workshop at Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead on Saturday 28 November, 10am-1pm.