There are 506, 000 miles of hedge in the UK, although only about 25% are considered to be in favourable condition. The pattern and structure of hedges across the country contributes a great deal to defining the 159 distinct Landscape Character Areas in England. Many are well over 1,000 years old, marking parish boundaries and most are over 200 years old. All hedgerows mainly made of native species of tree and shrub, are now recognised as a priority habitat within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. They support an enormous wealth of wildlife, including many rare and declining species.
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- Hedgelink. Hedgelink has been established to lead and support the conservation of the UK’s hedgerows. As a partnerships of many organizations, its remit covers the farming, wildlife, landscape, historical and cultural importance of hedgerows, with a particular responsibility for delivery of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for Hedgerows. Hedgelink aims to identify priorities, influence policy and expenditure, provide advice, and raise awareness and interest in hedgerows.
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- Natural England, July 2008