are an essential part of Britain's landscape; they provide habitats and
wildlife corridors for species of bird, insect and small mammal, create
windbreaks to reduce soil erosion, and provide shelter, forage and
boundaries to livestock and farmers.
to half of England's hedgerows have been lost since the end of the
Second World War, through government-endorsed removal to expand fields
for larger machinery and greater food productivity, or through neglect.
fortunate at Trill Farm that most of our hedges were not pulled out
during this period, but they do require maintenance to stop them from
growing up into lines of trees with little shelter for nesting birds,
and large gaps to allow livestock through.
farmers use flails to cut back growth each year, which although quick
and efficient, can be bad for wildlife including some species of rare
moth and butterfly whose eggs and caterpillars overwinter on shoots and
the old methods are the best. Hedge laying is time consuming and hard
work. We use hand tools to carefully chop through part but not all of a
growing stake, laying it down with a section of bark and wood
connecting it to its roots for water and nutrients. The branch is
carefully woven in to other branches, allowing it to continue to grow
and creating a denser hedge.
the craft of hedge laying is enjoying a revival, with people like
Jeremy Weiss (@properedges) running training through
the Devon Rural Skills Trust. He will
be here at Trill laying one of our hedges on 16th-17th February, and
passing on his skills to anyone who wishes to join him.
our website to find out more and to
book your place.