We spent a couple of days in County Louth last week surveying hedgerows. It was great to get out doing some real fieldwork again. County Louth is very different from Mayo were we live. Being in the east of the country, they have drier weather conditions to start with and this is reflected in the amount of cereals that are grown. The hedgerows we surveyed were pretty much all in good condition which was great to see and of course we got to see some nice wildlife as well.
One of the things we noticed from the twenty or so hedges we have surveyed so far is that there was a lot of dog rose present. This is great to see, though the flowers were gone and the rose-hips not yet reddening. However, there was some lovely flowering honeysuckle.
Another great find was a spindle tree. In the autumn, these trees have the most bizare looking red fruit. The wood from the spindle tree is exceptional hard and as it’s name suggests was used to make spindles for wool spinning.
In my opinion, the more species in a hedgerow the better. Climbers such as brambles, honeysuckle and dog rose, add more colour and interest but also provide important food (pollen and nectar) for all kinds of insects, and later on food in the form of fruits, for birds and mammals (including us humans).