We are very fortunate in that we live in rural Herefordshire which as a county has treasured and preserved its hedgerows. Some of the hedgerows are as wide as the road itself which provides a massive benefit to wildlife. As other parts of the country were grubbing up the hedges to make huge fields as in East Anglia, or for farmers to benefit from subsidies for grubbing them up, the small traditional farmers in this county were well established in the nurturing and maintenance of these wildlife treasure troves.
They are one of the first things you notice as you enter this quiet, rural county. Small farms are still doing well and in some instances expanding. As other parts of the country are now discovering, if you look after your hedgerows, the wildlife has a head start in looking after itself.
In my photograph, there is a female sparrow hawk sitting on the top of one of these wide hedges in the garden. It sat there for 20 minutes, looking around and then preening itself. As it sat there, the smaller birds became more and more adventurous until in the blink of an eye it flashed into action and pounced on a small bird, wide tail fanned out to act like a rudder. I didn’t see the actual kill as it had sunk down to the ground and then glided off very low.