Hedgelaying – what a bind!

Anyone visiting Penshaw Monument over the weekend may have noticed that we have put the finishing touches to our hedge. It’s taken us the last two winters to lay the hedge – a process that involves cutting part way through the stem of each plant in the hedge and bending it over. The stems are then held in place by a row of stakes to create a kind of living fence.

This is a traditional skill that has died out somewhat over recent decades. Happily we’ve been able to do some training for a few of our volunteers and our Trainee Ranger, Pat. They all managed to pick up the techniques pretty quickly, so the next generation of hedgelayers are good to go!

Adding the bindings to the finished hedge.

Adding the bindings to the finished hedge.

The final part of hedgelaying involves weaving long pieces of hazel between the stakes. These bindings help to hold the hedge together even more firmly, plus it looks really nice when it’s done. You can see Pat and the vols hard at work putting them on in the sequence of photos. Hopefully you like the finished results.

We also spent the day burning off the brash we’d cut out of the hedge. It was a lovely sunny morning and there were plenty of signs from nature that spring is firmly here. The blackthorn trees were looking particularly nice covered in May blossom. It’s just a shame the spring showers were in evidence in the afternoon as we took a right soaking!

May blossom

May blossom

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Gareth | National Trust

Gareth | National Trust

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