A hedge witch is a witch
who is independent and solitary, hence does not belong to a coven
. Many prefer to practise their work and worship alone - they generally feel no need for leadership or a hierarchy
, and frequently they do not adhere to one given set of beliefs, preferring to be guided by intuition
"Kitchen witches" are also frequently solitary, tending to work in the home, and with minimal craft tools.
There is a long-standing tradition of solitary witches - many were the villages in Europe who had someone who would dispense folk medicine, spells and advice. They stood in the place which might now be held by a local doctor, midwife, apothecary or community nurse.
Rae Beth has written an excellent book with this title, in the form of letters to two prospective witches, which is an excellent introduction to paganism in general, and the ritual and philosophy of wicca in particular.