2. Protection is offered against the damaging effects of wind and hail; hedges provide the animals with shelter, thus reducing veterinary costs.
3. Hedgerows act as water regulating reservoirs, limiting soil erosion and bleaching.
4. Land covered by quickset hedges can be considered ecologically balanced, if no one factor can predominate (pullulation of rodents, drought etc). The presence of a wide variety of species has an overall balancing effect (birds of prey as predators of the common mole, insectivorous birds, insects as pollenizing agents, parasites of crop ravagers).
5. Developers and agribusiness interests have been razing British land, and in the process ridding it of its most singular visual characteristics: the brambly hedgerows that articulate this rolling land and arise in any mind's-eye evocation of English countryside.
6. British hedgerows are being sacrificed by developers of housing subdivisions, business parks and suburban malls and by big farmers whose cumbersome combine harvesters and sprayers cannot negotiate the boundaries and corners created by the barriers.
7. English hedgerows have assumed a totemic significance in our feelings about the countryside. They are a symbol of everything that seems good about our landscape. They require care. They exist, because generations of men laid and tended them as lovingly as their successors might polish cars on a Sunday afternoon.
8. Aside from their historical and aesthetic value, hedgerows in England represent the country's most important haven for wildlife and plant species. And their destruction is causing the kind of alarm that arises over the disappearance of primary forest. Hedges are home to crab apple, spindle, hawthorn, hazel, beech, cherry, pine, plum, aspen, privet, service, sycamore, whitebeam, blackthorn, oak, ash, field maple, willow, elder birch, dog rose, broom, dogwood, holly beech and yew. In the spring they turn snowy with white May blossom, honeysuckle, daffodils, orchids and pale violets.
9. British winding hedges shelter footpaths and roadways and provide corridors for plant seedlings, lowland animals and birds. Some of them are the relics of former woodland, some were planted in the Bronze Age, some are spontaneous, rising out of untended dry stone walls and fences. They figure in the landscape paintings of Constable and the poetry of Shakespeare, Swift, Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas, John Clare and even Robert Frost, who spent the summer of 1914 in a 17th-century timbered cottage with a famous hedged path in nearby Dymock. John Betjeman wrote in his pastoral "Middlesex" that the only things preserving "our lost Elysium" were "a few surviving hedges".
2. Hedges come and hedges go.
3. Farmers are simply trying to "rationalize" the landscape while hedgerow enthusiasts are "fossilizing" it.
4. Despite destruction of hedgerows, there is still a huge difference between even the most open of English counties and the prairie farming of Canada and the USA, and I expect that difference to be maintained for a long time to come.