Hedgerows. Criss-crossing the landscape, marking historic field and parish boundaries, hedgerows are a key habitat for many species of conservation concern. Wildlife uses hedgerows for foraging, feeding, breeding, shelter and a refuge from predators.
Hedgerows often support a rich flora at their base, support invertebrates such as butterflies and moths, and act as wildlife corridors for many species, allowing movement between habitats.
Priority habitat details
The Hedgerow priority habitat consists of lines of bushes, shrubs and sometimes trees.
The hedgerow has to be over 20m long and up to 5m wide, with no gaps more than 20m.
Hedgerows are part of the Boundary and Linear Features broad habitat type which also includes lines of trees, walls, stone and earth banks, grass strips and dry ditches.
Phase 1 habitat surveys identify hedges of different conditions. ‘Species-rich hedges’ in these surveys have a diversity of native woody species and a good bottom flora.
The first UKBAP definition of the hedgerow priority habitat
referred to *Ancient or Species-rich hedgerows with at least four different native tree or shrub species.
The UK BAP (2007) widened the definition to include all hedges with 80% or more of at least one native woody tree or shrub species.
Banks or ditches associated with hedgerows are part of the habitat, as well as herbaceous vegetation in hedgerow banks.
Gappy hedgerows and tree lines, whilst hot priority habitat have a value for wildlife - as do walls and other boundary features.
The best hedgerows in Barnsley for biodiversity are ancient, ‘species-rich’ hedgerows*. These hedgerows are likely to contain several tree or shrub species, veteran trees, deadwood, and a rich basal flora of herbaceous plants. In some cases they may include remnants of ancient woodland.
Ancient hedgerows will have been in existence before the Enclosures from 1750 to 1860. The thin straight Hawthorn hedges of the Enclosures support less biodiversity, as do hedges of Beech, Privet, Yew or non-native trees.
21 important hedgerows have been identified in Barnsley: 13 species-rich old lanes, six species-rich hedgerows and two hedgerow banks. Only one, Black Lane, currently has LWS status as a hedgerow. More on sites
In the Barnsley area hedgerows still act as wildlife corridors for many species including bats. They are particularly important for moths and butterflies such as White-letter Hairstreak, and farmland birds including Grey Partridge, Linnet and Yellowhammer. More on species and habitat features
Please use the following links for more information on hedgerows