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Acoustic Strategy, Protection of Biodiversity and Cultural Identity: CORNISH HEDGES

To allow the dwellings to have an element privacy, and increase acoustic isolation from the parking lot as well as the side roads I had planned to have hedges planted on at least 3 sides of the perimeter.

Having lived most of my life in Switzerland where hedges are generally formal and aimed at keeping prying eyes out, I thought it might make sense to investigate what kinds of bushes and plants would be considered native to Cornwall as this would ensure any native biodiversity was not lost and would also provide a reference to its cultural identity.

I discovered that Cornwall has hedges "many dating back to the Bronze Age, and represent a wealth of diversity both in function and style" . There are over 30,000 miles of hedges, which form Cornwall's largest semi-natural habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, and act as wild-life corridors. Replicating this would allow the project to work towards meeting Target 15.5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They can also prevent soil erosion, reduce flash flooding and improve water quality

15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

Unlike the hedges I was used to in Geneva, Switzerland, which are made up of exclusively of vegetation (only very low containment walls or fences are allowed), many of the hedges in Cornwall are made up of layers of stones that become smaller as the hedge becomes taller and are often topped with trees, shrubs and other plants.

An ancient Cornish hedge at Carnewas - Courtesy of

This could be replicated at the site using stones found on site and combined with other hedging stones which can be easily sourced locally from the same company who can provide the gabions for the retaining walls. Traditional building techniques should be used. The selection of plants chosen should benefit the acoustic proofing and provide a new habitat for flora and fauna.

Ideal plants to start off with would include: wood sorel, western ramping fumitory, betony, foxglove, yarrow, scabious, choiysa, and holly which are all grow naturally in Cornwall.

Holly -evergreen - also provides an important winter food source for birds.

Choiysa - grows up to 2 m, has evergreen aromatic leaves and fragrant flowers in spring, summer and sometimes autumn too. Leaves create a dense barrier for birds, insects and small animals to hide in.

The Guild of Cornish Hedge (no date) Cornish hedges, The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Available at: (Accessed: January 5, 2023).

Staff, F.P. (2018) 30,000 miles of Cornish hedges are mapped using satellite imagery, Falmouth Packet. Falmouth Packet. Available at: (Accessed: January 6, 2023).

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