Posts Tagged ‘hedgelaying’

The following is an update by Dave Maeer, who was Workday Leader on our winter 2011/2012 Hedgelaying sessions.

Hedgelaying on the Attingham Estate  2011 to 2012

It has been a good hedgelaying season this winter. As usual we had four Saturday’s planned for the season. It got off to a slow start working on last year’s hedge but on our second visit we were given our ‘own’ hedge to work on.

The hedge was approximately 90m long and was located very close to the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton railway line. It had been planted ten or twelve years ago and so was a maiden hedge having never been laid before.

Our first session was spent clearing with a small amount of actual pleaching (actually laying the hedge).

The second session involved much more pleaching with the clearing being completed.

Our third and final session was a marathon session but by the end the entire length had been laid. On the day a team of eight had laid approximately 50m of hedge. We had run out of stakes by the end so it did not look quite as tidy but the important thing is that it has been laid and will now thrive for the next ten or twenty years before needing our attention again.

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What a great start  to 2012. Five workdays completed by the group in January.

We started the month with a visit to Sunnycroft on Sunday 8th January. The property is closed at the moment for its winter rest. A good opportunity to have a clear up in the garden. Over the past year, hedges have been chopped back and trees pruned (we got involved with some of this work – info here). The property has a good composting system in place (and yes, we’ve been involved with this too!), but woody waste can’t be easily composted. Our visit to Sunnycroft this month involved two large bonfires to get rid of the woody waste. Meanwhile, the digging crew got stuck into turning the compost beds.

Our next workday was at Walcot Woods on Sunday January 15th. The weather had turned cold and crisp – not that the group ever need an excuse for a bonfire or two! We continued the ongoing woodland management project, clearing back scrub and removing some of the smaller trees. This site is probably our most remote workplace, but it is well worth the extra effort required to get there. It is an amazing place to work, with many veteran trees and stunning views down the valley. (ed’s note: our website header photo was taken at Walcot)

Saturday January 21st saw a continuation of the winter hedgelaying programme at Attingham Park. The group welcomed three new people to share the workload.  (ed’s note: I hear that this year’s hedgelaying site is particularly good – there is another opportunity to join the group on 18th February. See events for info).

On the same weekend as the hedgelaying, another workday took place at Wenlock Edge on Sunday January 22nd. Working at an old quarry site, there was a lot of bowsawing and lopping – we turned trees and scrub into a log pile and a fire.

On Saturday 28th January,  group members met NT Area Ranger Mike Annis for a walk around Dudmaston Estate. It was a cold and bright day – perfect for walking…especially as the furthest point from the car park happened to be a pub (such good luck to find ourselves at the pub in time for lunch). Mike talked about how the work we do on the Estate fits into the overall management of the estate lands. We discussed possible future projects for the group. It seems that we won’t run out of work at Dudmaston anytime soon – good news for us!

We completed our working month at Morville Hall on Sunday 29th January. Always a favourite site, the turnout for this workday was high. The numerous garden tasks were tackled with our usual enthusiasm – apple trees pruned, flagstones moved, shrub roots mattocked, flower borders manured, paths straightened. We had our lunch inside Morville Hall – I wonder if the Elizabethan walls have ever seen such a scruffy lot within?! The day was completed with a lot of tasty cake.

So that was January. Busy, busy, busy. Bring on February!

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The winter programme is now online.

Looks like it’s going to be a busy time with lots to look forward too.

The hedgelaying season starts again at Attingham on November 19th. You don’t need any previous experience and all tools and equipment are provided. The only thing required is enthusiasm.

Christmas weekend at Dudmaston is from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th December. This is one of the highlights of our work and social calendar. Workdays are arranged for Friday and Saturday and there is a Christmas dinner, prepared and cooked by SSNTV, on Saturday evening at Big Mose NT Basecamp. On Sunday, there is the traditional walk to the pub for lunch.

Laura is busy organising some workdays for between Christmas and New Year. This was a great success last year with many group members coming out of hibernation to share the last of the Christmas cake. Keep an eye on our EVENTS page for updated information on these ‘twixmas’ workdays.

The New Year will be equally busy with lots to do at all of our favourite sites.

So, there is no reason to sit at home complaining about how boring it is during the winter days – get out there and DO SOMETHING and HAVE SOME FUN!



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