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Hedge laying at Chesworth Farm

Walkers following the Riverside Walk through Chesworth Farm may have noticed changes along the farm track.  Part of the hedge has been laid in traditional style - it was done by a local expert Peter Tunks with the help of the Countryside Wardens.

There are several reasons for doing this type of work:  It produces a thick hedge which provides more of a barrier while being extremely good for wildlife - thick hedges provide great nesting sites for birds in particular.  It also benefits the health of the plant species growing in the hedge (otherwise they become very leggy) and encourages wild flowers and grasses along the hedgerow.

Although the trees in the hedge are trimmed quite severely, and are cut for laying, they are able to survive and will sprout new shoots from the laid stems in the Spring.  In the future this new growth will be trimmed at around 5 - 6 feet height to keep the hedgerow thick and dense.  There are a variety of methods of hedge laying from different parts of the country and this has been done in the local 'Southern' style, using hazel stakes to support the laid hedge and hazel 'binders' woven along the top of the hedge to keep the laid trees in position in the future.
 
The best time for this work is during the winter (outside bird nesting season and dry summer months) and we will be back next winter to complete this line of hedgerow.  The Countryside Wardens aim to lay as many of the hedges around the Farm as possible. Some hedgerows have already been laid in recent years, but others have become too mature to lay.  These contain over-mature trees and shrubs which will now have to be coppiced (with some good specimens retained).

We have a volunteer task hedge coppicing at Chesworth on Saturday 12 March (10.00am to 1.00pm) - everyone welcome, all tools (and tea and biscuits) provided, no experience necessary.

Steve Delahunt, Countryside Warden

Photographs by Derek Bradnum