On arrival to Heartwood over the last few months you may have noticed that your view has opened up along the bridleway near the scout hut. On 5th & 6th November last year, and again on 21st January, groups of volunteers participated in hedgelaying along this 100 metre stretch of hedge.
Hedgerows play an important role in our countryside, historically for stockproofing and effective boundaries to land. Ecologically however, when managed through this regenerative process, the ‘wildlife value’ of a hedgerow is increased and it is a precious habitat and resource for wildlife.
When stems become ‘leggy’ and a hedge turns into a line of trees, it loses its dense structure and becomes ‘gappy’. The cutting and bending (pleaching) of the hedgerow trees, provides the shrubby structure needed to provide a welcome refuge for nesting birds, bugs, butterflies and small mammals. Laid up hill, the sap rises to allow vertical regrowth, all secured by the willow and hazel binders and stakes.
The traditional craft of hedgelaying which was once a common characteristic of our landscape has been gradually disappearing, but at Heartwood it is our intention to bring this back with a plan over the next 5 years to lay this c.500 metre section of bridleway.
So, if you are interested in attending a short 1 or 2 day course, we will be scheduling some dates from next November to January 2013 to invite you to book a place where you can learn about the tools, techniques and biodiversity benefits of this countryside craft.