Traditionally used to contain stock, hedges were once the main boundaries to maintain paddock sizes. However over the years as arable farms have become more prevalent, farmers have sought to increase the yield of their farm and hedges have been removed to make way for the ever growing size of the machinery.
In recent years, the balance has shifted once more, with landowners replacing hedgerows to encourage our native flora and fauna to become re-established.
Hedgelaying is an ancient craft which is used to rejuvenate an existing hedgerow. First stage would be to remove any unwanted materials such as bramble, nettle and dead wood etc.
Next stage – starting at 1 end of the hedge – cut a pleach (a cut 3/4 of the way through the plant) this enables you to bend the plant over without it breaking, leaving enough sap wood attached in order to keep the plant alive. The plants that are to be laid must be no thinner than a broom handle.
This process is continued throughout the length of the hedge.
A stake is then installed at every yard – normally hazel or ash.
Bind the top of the hedge with hazel rods 10 – 12 ft long. Once complete, trim the hedge to improve appearance.
End result is a woven living fence approx 4ft high. This process is good for the hedge and for wildlife.
Long term you end up with a much better and more healthy hedge.
This also encourages traditional woodland management techniques as the materials required for hedgelaying – the stakes and binders – are produced using traditional coppicing methods.
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Haskett Ltd, Rowan Cottage, Cannons Green
Fyfield, Essex, CM5 0TG
T 01277 899325 , M 078507 61865