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Hedgerows and Trees in Winter


Hedgerows and Trees in the Winter

Winter can be such a beautiful month when the air is filled with a zing of freshness with every twig, branch and fallen leaf twinkling with the sparkle of new frost and the hedgerows look like long, diamond chains bordering the jewel-encrusted fields. When the snow comes, Mother Nature lays a comforting blanket across all of us and it often seems as if we are the only creatures awake as nature's great bedroom stretches out in front of us for mile upon silent mile.

But as the trees and hedges lay there in languid serenity, not all is as it seems. We are not the only ones there, in fact the natural world is very much alive hidden behind tree boughs, under piles of leaves and squeezed into every nook and cranny. This is the time where that innocent tree or the functional hedgerow comes into its own. We so love to see our trees in full summer glory, majestically purveying the land or neatly framing our prized gardens and often we see the end of the autumn as the end of their interest. Not so for birds. Not so for little bugs and beasties. For these trees and hedges, now stripped bare of their verdant clothes, provide vital habitats for these creatures even as it slumbers through the long, winter months.

Have you watched a robin, dotting around its territory? The hawthorn and blackthorn are its friends at this time of year, serving amuse-bouche of juicy fruit at the start of the winter and protecting the little bird with a mesh of spiny guards. And have you ever looked out across a field on a cold or windy day? The sheep or cattle will be huddled together along a hedgerow line or under a lone tree, seeking any shelter they can get. Or what about feeling the few degrees of warmth a low-branched hedge provides right down at ground level? It might not be much to a modern human, but for a tiny little beastie those few degrees are as good as lashings of central heating snuggling the whole family through the winter.
So enjoy your walks through nature's great winter boudoir and remember how important those sleeping trees and hedges are to all the wildlife scurrying away out of sight.

07 December 2018 at 12:52 / Comment

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