Other hedgerow goodies found in autumn include sloes, hawthorn berries or hazelnuts. Actually finding a hedgerow, though, could present a challenge. Since the Second World War, they have been rapidly disappearing from the British landscape – a result of changing farming practices, development or neglect – with up to 50 per cent gone in some parts of the country.
This is having a dramatic impact on the nation's biodiversity. Hedgerows are one of the most significant wildlife habitats we have. They provide food and shelter for hundreds of different species of mammals, birds and insects, and act as corridors for creatures to travel safely from one area to another.
Dormice, bats, butterflies and birds all rely on hedges. Birds like dunnocks, robins and wrens nest in the impenetrable thickets provided by blackthorn and hawthorn. Blackthorn flowers early in the year, so is valuable for hungry insects emerging from hibernation.