A key characteristic of Cornwall’s landscape is its pattern of hedges. These hedges are culturally and environmentally important to Cornwall and they need protection and good management in order to thrive.
Cornish hedges have defined our landscape for centuries and provide a distinct local identity quite different from other areas of the country. In Cornwall there are still about 30,000 miles of hedges, which form our largest semi-natural habitat. The physical structure of Cornish hedges provides a variety of conditions suitable for the flora and fauna of grassland, woodland, moorland, wetland and cliff.
In urban areas and around our gardens more formal planted hedges or hedgerows are found. These provide shelter, protection, seclusion, privacy and a backdrop for other plants and features. They require maintenance and management for biodiversity, security and boundary delineation. Occasionally issues can be caused between neighbours due to varying requirements or neglect. Please view the high hedges page for advice on the issues and potential solutions.
In Cornwall, a typical hedge is considered to be an earth bank that may or may not be faced with stone. Frequently, these are topped with trees, shrubs and other plants which may be considered to be a hedgerow. Variations in style exist. For example, in some cases they are more akin to a dry stone wall, built of local stone and with little significant vegetation.
A hedgerow is generally understood to be a boundary line of trees or shrubs which tend to be over 20m long and less than 5m wide at the base. The line of trees and shrubs must, at one time, have been more or less continuous.