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Country diary: wildlife-sustaining bramble hedges need our protection

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Claxton, Norfolk: A conservation group is calling for legal restrictions covering many hedgerow species to be extended to bramble, ivy and honeysuckle

The full-flowing vigour of our bramble hedge may be on the ebb, but there’s still an enormous abundance of life at play in this essential garden plant. The fruits continue to run a gamut from sour red baubles right through to yeast-softened bags of sweetness, whose overripe drupes almost collapse on contact, disintegrating to grainy purple-stained juices at the merest touch.

The whole sun-dusted hedge is thickly entwined with a million spider threads, and for good reason. Bramble is probably the most important source of pollen, nectar and then ripe-fruit sugars for more species of insect than any other common British plant. I doubt there was a single invertebrate in our summer patch that didn’t have cells partly formed from bramble carbohydrates and proteins, and while I value our garden brambles for many reasons, I love them most for this indiscriminate summer-long generosity.

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