Today was the first day of my two day course on hedge-laying. Here’s the tutor:
We started off by rolling back the fencing on a hedge planted five years ago and then removing the rabbit guards and canes:
Ed, our tutor, then showed us how to go on, he’s a great communicator and lays hedges for a living as well as forestry contracting. His words of wisdom were very good, and often very amusing, a real good craike (or blather as we might say in Yorkshire).
This is the hedge before we started to lay it, with the stakes stacked at the side around which the pleachers, or liggers are woven:
Here Ed shows us how to start a pleach, or cut that will allow the plant to be laid over without breaking away from the roots, so that the ligger and the root will both sprout new growth in the growing season.
Bare hand for control of the axe and a donkey skin mitten to repell thorns.
This is the essential – the pleach, cutting the stem just enough to make it lie down without springing back up.
In goes a stake – carefully measured, “Good staking can make crap laying look good, but crap staking will spoil good laying.”
A man who knows what he’s talking about commands attention with ease.
Glorious afternoon, with everybody learning a practical skill …
Didn’t we do well? A joint effort, and the style is traditional Yorkshire stock hedge, which is an immediately effective two-sided stock fence, impenetrable even by lambs. It lies low at about 25 degrees for our Northern winds and the stakes are in the middle to hold it all together.