In Jersey the The ‘Visite du Branchage’ inspections take place twice a year in each parish during the three weeks commencing 24th June and the three weeks commencing 1st September. The Visites are to ensure that a height of at least 12 feet (3.7 metres) is kept above all public roads and 8 feet (2.4 metres) above footpaths at all times.
Branchage literally means ‘branches’. The branchage refers to the law which ensures that any vegetation growth that overhangs roads and footpaths is cut back. This includes hedges, branches, trees, shrubs, grass and flowers etc.
By having the branchage trimmed, these areas are safer for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and anyone else who uses them.
The Island’s hedgerows, banques (hedge-banks) and dry-stone walls are defining features of our rural landscape, adding beauty and character to the countryside. They are rich in wildlife, providing food and shelter for many of the Island’s birds, insects and small mammals. They also serve as corridors connecting habitats together and act as an extension to our woodlands.
As a result of growing concerns that inappropriate working practices were having a detrimental impact on wildlife and the quality of Jersey’s banques and hedges, conservation organisations have been working in partnership with government, farmers and landowners to produce updated advice about best working practices for undertaking the branchage.
The updated guidelines are available to download from the ‘files’ area of the ‘Branchage and Beyond – Nurturing Natures Highways‘ facebook group.