Little Horwood. An ancient 260 metre species rich hedge of hawthorn field maple, hazel, blackthorn, elm, alder buckthorn, purging buckthorn, privet, wayfaring tree, ash and crab apple under ash, beech and mature oak standards, laid crop and pleach with live stakes. This hedge is by the road from Little Horwood to Winslow and almost certainly very old from its extraordinary species diversity. The client needed to replace the fence behind the hedge and it made sense to sort out the hedge at the same time.
View from end of hedge before...
Loads of variety in this hedge, here a large hawthorn is secured by live stakes front and back...
...and is followed by a section of hazel that also provides two further stakes
The client has a small flock of Herdwick sheep, a breed that always look as if they are smiling. Herdwicks are one of the hardiest British hill sheep breeds, used to the cold and rain of the Lake District
I'm not necessarily happy - I'm a Herdwick!
There was plenty of evidence of previous laying from decades back without having access to a chainsaw - note the inverted "V" where a near upright stem was previously laid very high and has then grown up again to create a "V" to the right of the inverted "V"...
...and after. The right hand side of the "V" has been laid, the left hand side of it trimmed to create a live stake and severed from the left hand side of the inverted "V" which could then also be laid. The upright stems to the left of the standard are about to be laid to fill the remaining gap.
Difficult to see, but further down, work has started replacing the old wire fence with a post and rail fence. Work in progress from an ash standard...
...towards first of two fine oak standards. Note all the excess brush hauled out of the hedge.
A very tidy and solid hazel section viewed from ditch level...
...and a similar view taken from a little further back standing by the road
A delightful surprise - the setting sun on 10th December illuminates a fallen hazel leaf low down on the far side of hedge just as if it were a lamp
Two day midweek hedgelaying training course at the Greensand Trust, Sandy Smith Reserve, Clophill. The Greensand Trust planted 2.5 kilometres of hedge at this site that is now becoming ready to lay. All the hedges are mixed hedges of predominantly hawthorn and planted as double staggered rows to give good thick hedges. Two different styles are being used on the site - South of England where stakes and binders and required, but most will be crop and pleach using live stakes which saves the cost of the stakes and binders and is much quicker - both significant considerations with this distance of hedge. This large group of local volunteers completed the remaining 70 metres of the 114 South of England section started on a weekend training course the previous month, before carrying on to the crop and pleach section. They were sufficiently enthused to go on to meet one Sunday a month to continue hedgelaying at this site.
Carrying on with the hedge started previously...
..cutting the tops off the stakes
South of England hedges are bushy both sides
Looking down the hedge...
...looking up the hedge
Putting on the last of the binders
This 114 metre section complete!
Continuing the crop and pleach section...
...where a very good impression was made too.
Joining two sections of hedge
...practical, inexpensive, sturdy and permitting rapid progress, with two and a half kilometres of it to lay, crop and pleach is the predominant style being used at Sandy Smith