The Happy Hedgerow, by Hertfordshire-based author Elena Mannion

11th December 2021

CPRE Hertfordshire is delighted to feature this lovely new children’s book. It was named Book of the Season in the Summer 2021 issue of Countryside Voices, CPRE’s members’ magazine.

The book tells the story of a hedgerow whose declining fortunes are reversed when a new landowner reinstates a bulldozed section. National CPRE Vice-President Sir Andrew Motion said the book is ‘a welcome reminder that hedgerows are our greatest nature reserves’.

The book is suitable for children aged from four. The beautiful illustrations by the Northern Irish artist Erin Brown vividly depict many of the species found in and around hedges and the colours of the changing seasons. Sir Andrew Motion also said that the book ‘will encourage children to engage with the rich variety of life on their doorsteps’.

About the author, Elena Mannion

We met Elena at her Hertfordshire home, where she runs her publishing company specialising in books for children. She has spent much of her career in publishing, but this is the first children’s book she has written.

Elena told us: ‘I walked more during lockdown, and saw the large prairie fields near my village. Lots of local green spaces have gone as farmland is built on’. She continued: ‘I remember seeing hedges disappear when I was growing up in Hertfordshire’.

Elena is passionate about story-telling and connecting children to nature.  She hopes that as adults they will feel empowered to do more to protect our disappearing countryside and its wildlife. She understands the huge value of pictures, which help with interpretation of the words telling the story.

Illustration by Erin Brown

A happy ending

In the story, ‘Old Oak’ worries what will happen to the creatures living in the bulldozed hedge.  He watches in dismay as heavy rain and high winds erode the soil.  This was something ‘that had never happened when the Far Hedgerow was there’. The book ends on a happy note as people arrive to replant the lost hedge.

All of us can help

Replanting a lost hedge or a gap in an existing hedge is something that communities everywhere can do. It gives adults and children alike an opportunity to make a contribution to tackling climate change.

CPRE’s recent research provides more information on how hedgerows help mitigate climate change and benefit nature and the economy.

You can also help by notifying us if you believe a hedgerow has been unlawfully destroyed.  The Government has published clear guidance on the protection of hedgerows, underpinned by statute – The Hedgerow Regulations 1997.

the author of The Happy Hedgerow holding her book, standing in front of a lush green hedge
Elena Mannion, author of The Happy Hedgerow Elizabeth Hamilton