Monday, 10 December 2018

Renewing Hedgerows and Renewing the Hedge Layers

Hedge laying en masse. Photo: Paul Loughnane

The Wirral Society, who preserve Wirral’s natural and built environment, celebrated their 90th birthday by sponsoring a hedge laying training day organised by Wirral Countryside Volunteers. The Wirral Society sponsored the purchasing of ten samurai pruning saws and nine wild pear trees to be planted into the hedgerow to form hedgerow trees of the future and to celebrate the nine decades of the society.

Young hedge layers. Photo: Paul Loughnane

It was a great event with 58 participants, 40 of whom were new to hedge laying. An impressive 150 metres of hedge were laid along Woodchurch Road between Arrowe Park and the M53. This is most the volunteers have ever laid in a single day. More importantly there were 24 youngsters involved. They will each receive a young hedge layer award of £25 for taking part in the event. Wirral Countryside Volunteers' Secretary Paul Loughnane enthused, “Hedge layers need renewing as well as the hedgerows. It is great to see so many youngsters getting actively involved. Laid hedges are good for wildlife as they retain some of their flowers which provide nectar and pollen sources for insects and winter berries for birds. Flailed hedges have most of the flower buds on the second year's growth removed.’’

Hedge cleaned out for hedge laying. Photo: Paul Loughnane

“Thanks to the teachers of Woodchurch High who encouraged the pupils to come along on a Sunday. We were supported by Arnold Plumley of Cheshire Ploughing and Hedge cutting Society who demonstrated the local Cheshire style and by the National Hedge Laying Society who run the young hedge layer award scheme which is sponsored by HRH the Prince of Wales. It was a great collective effort.”

The Volunteers provided tea and homemade cake and soup for the participants. Paul added, “I was very much surprised and delighted by the large turnout of youngsters, perhaps it was because hedge laying was featured on the BBC's Countryfile programme the week before or that the hedge is on the edge of the Woodchurch Estate where many of them live or an inspirational ‘eco’ teacher."

Hedge layers lunch. Photo: Paul Loughnane

Miles Duncan, the farmer from Home Farm Landican said, “The volunteers have done a truly fantastic job - their fine work will be seen for many years. Landican is at the geographical centre of the Wirral, and it’s farming for all to see, as the farms are bounded by motorway and busy roads and visible from most of Prenton. Thank you!”

Robin Dutfield, a member of staff from of Woodchurch High, declared that, “the pupils really enjoyed the event and the fact that they were so whacked out at the end of the day meant some learned what hard work is all about!”

Finished hedge. Photo: Paul Loughnane

Rodd Tann, Chair of The Wirral Society stated, "It was wonderful for the Wirral Society to celebrate its 90th birthday with practical protection of Wirral's natural environment. Wirral’s hedgerow stock is gradually declining through poor management. This freshly laid hedge will resprout from the base and will form an impenetrable boundary to livestock, a wonderful wildlife habitat and a great landscape feature.”

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