Hedgelaying at Bedfont Lakes

The group tried something new, laying a hedge near the play area. Hedgelaying has existed since the Middle Ages and was used to either mark a boundary or to restrain stock. However, now hedges can provide great habitats for wildlife, including plants, birds and small mammals and if they link woodland, can act as wildlife corridors.The hedge we were laying was not planted to lay and so it might not meet the standard seen else where. Also, the  hetherings, the branches that are used to bind the hedge together, are normally hazel but as we did not have any, we had to use willow which is not ideal as it is too thick.



As we were using new tools the ranger Richard gave a safety talk. One of the main tools is the billock which is used to cut into the stem so that it can be laid.  A demonstration provides a perfect example of what to do. The tree only needs a thin layer of bark to survive and new shoots will grow up from the base which, in 10-15 years will provide the material to lay the hedge again.



Once the hedge has been laid, it needs to be staked to give it support.  Again the stakes were not always ideal as we had to use what was available.



Unfortunately the short winter day prevented the us from putting the finishing touches to the hedge. We had done some of the binding but needed to do the rest, do a bit of "tidying up" cutting out anything that wasn't in line and finally cutting the top of the stakes at a 45 degree angle. 

The top of the stakes have been cut to finish off the hedge.