Help with Hedge Laying in the Churchyard

Members of Knighton Wild will be laying the hedge along the north side of St Mary’s churchyard in Knighton on Saturday 25th November 2017 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Please come along and lend a hand.  No experience is necessary.   There will be a range of different kinds of jobs to do – it’s not all waving a billhook around.  Email Knighton Wild if you would like to come:

info at knighton wild dot org dot uk

You are also welcome to come along and just watch and see how it’s done.

Hedge laying is a traditional way of creating strong hedges that are resistant to livestock and provide more structure in the hedge for wildlife.

Most hedgerow shrubs and trees grow vertically, and a hedge needs horizontal structure as in the photo here.

Laid hedge

To create this effect, the vertical growths are cut with a billhook so that they can be bent over and stakes are inserted so that the horizontal pieces, known as pleachers, are woven together, and then the top of the laid hedge is held in place with binders made from thin, springy hazel.  We shall be using stakes and binders from woods in Leicestershire that are managed by the Wildlife Trust and where John Crookes, Knighton Wild’s Chair, works as a volunteer,

The stem of the pleacher is cut, but enough sap wood and bark has to beft to keep the pleacher alive and allow it to support new growth.  New growth comes from the base of the hedge, which helps to give it structure and prevent gaps. Nicky Thompson, one of the members of the Steering Committee, is an experienced hedge layer as a volunteer with The Conservation Volunteers, and will be showing people how to do it.

To make it possible to lay the pleacher horizontally, some of the side shoots have to be cut off. This is known as brash, and we shall be removing the brash from the site and using it to make a dead hedge in the small spinney next to the green space between Kenwood Road and Church Lane.  The dead hedge will provide habitat for wildlife.