Hedges are valuable to us all in so many ways. They play a vital role in pollination, soil retention, water quality, landscape and control and shelter for livestock.

While hedges do need trimming, it is possible to help birds, bees, dormice and other wildlife which depend on hedgerows by cutting fewer times and less dramatically.

Stretches of hedges that grow slowly can cope with being cut back every three years. Leaving a few inches of new growth means there will be more flowers and berries next year.

Before beginning to hedge it is important to check that there are no birds nesting. As well as being cruel, it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.