Wiston Estate farmer appointed first Sussex ‘hedgerow champion’

The Countryside Charity CPRE Sussex has appointed its first ‘hedgerow champion’ to raise awareness of important wildlife habitats.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 3:23 pm
Derek Crush, CPRE hedgerow champion

Tenant farmer Derek Crush has spent more than 30 years looking after some of the county’s most ancient and valuable hedgerows at Daylands Farm on the Wiston Estate near Steyning.

The charity is now hoping that his knowledge and experience will help to inspire many more people to see every hedgerow as a lifeline for nature.

Derek said: “Everyone should care about hedgerows.

“They provide food for us and for wildlife. There are about 3,000 metres on this farm and most can be dated to 1,000 years old.”

“My interest in hedgerows is part of life on the farm; all the hedgerows here are ancient and need careful management which I was keen to do. I find it very enjoyable.”

The decline of some of Sussex’s most loved species including dormice, hedgehogs and nightingales can be linked to the loss of ancient hedgerows.

CPRE Sussex chairman Dan Osborn said:“Many hedges were grubbed out in the interests of agricultural efficiency in the period after the Second World War.

“This had a big impact on many species of plants and animals. It’s more important than ever to protect the hedgerows in Sussex.”

“How hedgerows are managed also affects the biodiversity they support. The wider a hedge the more life that goes on within it, under it and near it. Hedges can be very diverse places and home to a large section of our wildlife.”

“We are delighted that Derek has agreed to be our hedgerow champion – he has a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm which we hope will be an inspiration for people of all ages.”

As part of this initiative, the charity is holding a Hedgerow Hike this month to raise funds for its ongoing work in the Sussex countryside. The hike is open to people of all ages and can be held anywhere in the county:

For more details, visit www.cpresussex.org.uk/discover-your-countryside/hedgerow-hike