Author: John Wright

An integral part of the Cumbrian landscape, the humble hedgerow doesn't receive as many plaudits as, say, fells and tarns. But now it – and other lesser celebrated symbols of the British countryside – have a chance to shine in ‘A Natural History of the Hedgerow and ditches, dykes and dry stone walls’. 

The title is a bit of a mouthful, and the book is just shy of 400 pages, but author John Wright manages to provide an engaging read, suitable for keen naturalists as well as those whose knowledge of hedgerows amounts to little more than bramble-picking in late summer.  

Part history, part love letter, Wright provides a comprehensive account of this rural structure: how the hedgerow came to exist and how it served different purposes over time, through to present-day uses and the many plant species, animals and birds it is home to. The three features in the subtitle are awarded only a handful of pages with, as you might expect, The Dry Stone Walling Association in Milnthorpe being given a mention. 

Wright writes with warmth and occasional humour. Scattered personal anecdotes illustrate his passion for hedgerows – and nature in general – and the book is a timely reminder of their vital role in our eco-system. 

Reviewed by: Rosalind Gibb 

Publisher: Profile Books ISBN: 978-1846685538 

Available on Amazon: Paperback £9.95