Devon Hedge Fund
Our nature reserves
Devon Hedge Fund - give a bonus for wildlife here
Picture a Devon hedge in your mind. Bumblebees feeding on hawthorn nectar, brown hairstreak butterflies laying eggs on blackthorn twigs. Yellowhammers and bullfinches nest in the hedge while dormice forage for berries and nuts.
Of all the ways humans have shaped the Devon landscape, hedges have perhaps benefitted the widest range of wild plants and animals. But as man-made habitats it's up to us to ensure our Devon hedges are managed well for wildlife.
Devon has an amazing 53,000 kilometres of hedge, potentially the equivalent of 10,000 hectares of quality wildlife habitat. However, many of our hedges support only a fraction of the wildlife they have in the past. Only 38% of our hedges are in a favourable condition for wildlife, according to the recent State of Devon's Nature report.
You can make your contribution to wildlife wealth here
What's the problem?
Some hedges are neglected, meaning they become 'gappy' and unsuitable as cover or nesting habitat. Many are cut short every year, instead of the traditional three-year cut that allowed more mature shrubs - taller hedges act as a windbreak, attracting more insects, which in turn become food for bats.
The earth bank of a Devon hedge is more vulnerable to erosion now that fields hold higher numbers of livestock - the risk is even greater in prolonged periods of heavy rain. It is though that only 1% of Devon hedges are regularly rejuvenated in the way that traditionally allowed wildlife to thrive.
How giving to the Devon Hedge Fund can help
The good news is that hedges are human creations, so the power to improve them for wildlife is in our hands. Last year, DWT focused on creating new hedges at our Woodah Farm base in the Teign valley and on hedge-laying training events for landowners in north Devon. 2014 has been designated Year of the Hedge by the Devon Hedge Group. Our challenge this year is to ensure that the hedges on all DWT's nature reserves are in the best possible condition for wildlife.
That includes hedges on new reserves, recently extended sites and places where we can use hedges to manage the activity of grazing animals. The time, equipment and volunteer training & supervision required for this hedge work is why we're asking for contributions to our Devon Hedge Fund appeal.
All funds raised by the Devon Hedge Fund will be spent initially on managing and restoring hedges on DWT nature reserves. Once this work has been carried out for the current year, any additional funds will go towards creation of new hedges at DWT's Woodah Farm. To celebrate the Year of the Hedge we'll also be running hedge events later in the year - look out for more details.
Why the Devon Hedge Fund is not like any other 'hedge fund'!
The Devon Hedge Fund appeal gives everyone the chance to contribute to wildlife wealth in Devon. With the Devon Hedge Fund, the only banks are hedge banks, there are no fat cats, just well-fed dormice - and the big bonuses are enjoyed by wildlife.
You can contribute to the Devon Hedge Fund here