Monday, 7 March 2016

The story of a hedge...

If you are a regular visitor to Newton Pool at Low Newton by the Sea, you may have noticed that the hedge has been slowly changing shape over the last few months. Although it might look like we have been hacking it to pieces, we have in fact been busy laying the hedge.

Hedgerows are valuable habitat for hundreds of species so their upkeep is vital to biodiversity in the area. Hedgelaying prevents trees from growing to full size, encouraging them to regenerate more densely, lower down. This extends the life of the hedge and provides plenty of bushy cover for wildlife.

Volunteers hard at work   © Kate Bradshaw
Most of the hedge that has been 'layed' at Newton Pool is Hawthorn and Blackthorn, which means plenty of thorns - great for protecting the hedge, but less so for the volunteers trying to cut it down! 

Hedgelaying involves cutting through the majority of a stem/trunk to leave a thin sliver that attaches the tree to its base.

© Kate Bradshaw
The tree is then ‘layed’ along the line of the hedge to create an impermeable barrier to livestock.

A freshly 'layed' and staked section of hedge   © Jane Lancaster

Earlier in the year, we coppiced some willow trees around Newton Pool as part of our yearly tree management work. From the coppiced material we collected stakes; these are placed at intervals along the hedge and provide stability until the trees recover.

That looks like it will make some good stakes...   © Kate Bradshaw
There are many different styles of hedgelaying depending on the species of tree, type of hedge and geographical location. It is possible that we have created a whole new style during our time working at Newton Pool, as we are not too sure which category it fits into, but it does the job!

The newly 'layed' hedge!   © Kate Bradshaw

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