Hedgerows could commemorate Covid victims, Prince Charles says
- Credit: Denise Bradley
The Prince of Wales has suggested avenues of hedgerows and trees similar to that at Sandringham could be planted to commemorate those who lost their lives during the pandemic.
Heir to throne Charles has written for Country Life magazine to mark his 73rd birthday on Sunday, and highlighted the environmental importance of hedgerows as "the country's single biggest nature reserve".
The prince, who is a keen hedgelayer himself, described his own battle with prickly trees and shrubs each winter.
He has planted more than 15 miles of hedgerows at his Gloucestershire home Highgrove over the years, and at the Sandringham estate in west Norfolk, which he manages on behalf of the Queen, he has also been encouraging further hedgelaying.
"Our remaining hedgerows are still the country's single biggest nature reserve, offering important green corridors and an abundance of food and protection for wildlife," he said.
"This is why, despite looking as if I have just come off the field at Agincourt, I continue to wrestle each winter with lethal hawthorn and blackthorn branches in an attempt to lay some of the hedges I have planted over the past 41 years."
Some 100,000 miles of the country's hedgerows - four times the circumference of the earth - were lost between 1945 and 1985 in part due to rapid industrialisation of farming, he said.
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Raising the prospect of planting in memory of victims of the pandemic, the prince wrote: "I have always felt that avenues are a wonderful enhancement to the landscape and give great pleasure to so many people, as well as providing another way of planting more trees in general.
"Over the past two years of this dreadful pandemic, I have also felt that commemorating all those who have so tragically died through planting avenues in their memory in different parts of the country, whether in towns, cities or the countryside, might be something worth considering."
The prince said the Duchy of Cornwall was planning to celebrate his eldest son the Duke of Cambridge's 40th birthday next year with the planting of tree avenues.
With the Queen also set to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, it means Charles will be commemorating 70 years as heir to the throne and the Duke of Cornwall, with the Duchy preparing to plant 70 copses, each with 70 trees, at prominent locations on its land, the prince said.