Scilly simply would not be the same without its wonderful wildlife.  As such, so many of us are keen to do what we can to help the birds, bees, trees and other amazing flora and fauna flourish. 

When you are out on the water, remember that a voluntary code exists to give our breeding seabirds space to thrive.  This year, they have had a very undisturbed couple of months start to their season, so might have nested in unusual places!  Here's the map to help you avoid sensitive sites across the Islands

You might be thinking it's time to cut unruly hedges? Ideally not because of breeding birds (and don't forget it is against the law to disturb birds in their nests), but if you must, there are a few sure-fire ways you can do your bit to give our wildlife a helping hand.  


Timing Your Trim: 

Timing is everything:

  • Hedges: 

By law, hedges can only be cut between 1st September and 1st March, so be sure to stick to this or you could face some pretty hefty fines. If you have a roadside hedge, see further details below.

Native hedgerows are best left as long as possibleCutting should take place in January and February to reduce disturbance to legally protected birds and bats.  We suggest using a 2-3 year cycle – it's far less work for you; will work to increase biodiversity; and prevent long-term decline in hedge health.  

  • Trees:

Leaving trees for longer ensures there will be plenty of berries and nuts for feeding birds and other wildlife during the tough winter months.  Leaving your trim for early in the year will mean that most trees have finished flowering and seeding, and you won’t be guilty of nabbing those seasonal snacks from the wildlife who need it most. 

  • Verges and Hedge Banks: 

If you are only cutting once a year, carry out your cut between mid-August and the end of September.  If a second trim is needed then this can be carried out before Christmas.


  • Ditch Over-Doing It: 

Ditches are best cut back in late August to late September after seeding and prior to the return of the winter rains. 




Work may be carried out at any time of the year in the following instances: 

  • At Highway junctions where visibility is paramount; 
  • Around lighting and road signs; 
  • Where ferns and brackens are narrowing the road significantly; 
  • On the inside of bends to help highway users stay on their side of the road; 
  • On trees that pose a hazard to highway users. 

Contact the Council if you: 

  • Wish to fell or prune trees with a diameter over 7.5cm at 1.5m above ground level; 
  • Want to remove the whole or part of a hedgerow; 
  • Have concerns about road safety during the time you are working on a hedge; 
  • Require a publicly maintained road to be closed to manage a hedgerow or tree(s). 


Hopefully this clears things up regarding hedge and tree management on Scilly. If not, or you need further information then please refer to the leaflet below or contact us at [email protected] and we will be more than happy to help.