Monday, 9 December 2019

Growing To New Heights


Re-growth you can hang your hat on. Photo: David Casement
Re-growth you can hang your hat on. Photo: David Casement

Wirral Countryside Volunteers (WCV) are growing in stature and confidence. The volunteers’ chair Steve Yandell was described as being a “supervolunteer” in Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Go Wild Magazine and Tim Gannicliffe, a longtime volunteer, was recognised by Cheshire Wildlife Trust for his broad range of volunteer roles over 27 years. Congratulations to them both.

One of the volunteers’ favourite projects is hedgerow restoration and the volunteers made up seven of the nine cutters at the local Cheshire hedge laying match at Shotlach near Malpas, winning both the open and novice classes.

Colin Chapman being presented first place in the Cheshire Open Class at the National Competition. Photo: Tim Russ
Colin Chapman being presented first place in the Cheshire Open Class at the National Competition. Photo: Tim Russ

Three WCV cutters took part in the National Hedge Laying Competition, Pewsey in Wiltshire. New heights were reached by the WCV as Colin Chapman won the Cheshire Open Class. Arnold Plumley, the Cheshire judge, was delighted that everyone cut their 10m length in good time and said it was some of the most difficult judging he had done. Colin won by one point, achieving 77 points out of 100.

The extensive lengths of hedge laid recently have required an increased number of hedge stakes. Fortunately there are several local sources of stakes such as sycamore stakes from Job’s Ferry at Eastham Country Park, hazel stakes (our favourite material) from Kingsbrook Way, Lower Bebington and hazel from Hogs Head Coppice from the WCV base at New Ferry Butterfly Park.

Alex and James gained a paying hedge laying job from this photo, a great result.  Photo: Dave Edwards
Alex and James gained a paying hedge laying job from this photo, a great result.
Photo: Dave Edwards

At our recent hedge laying training day on Woodchurch Road, Landican, there were 25 participants, one person travelling from the Isle of Man for the day to join us. Arnold Pumley of the Cheshire Ploughing Hedgecutting Society was very pleased with all the trainees and spotted two that should be cutting in the Cheshire Ploughing and Hedgecutting Society competitions, surely the best thank you we can give Arnold for all his support and encouragement he gives us. Trainees and trainers had a great day hedge laying a suitable beginner’s hedge, in addition there were wheelbarrow loads of tea and cake supplied down the hedge line and leek and potato soup and roll served for lunch. Four under 26 year olds received a £25 payment from the National Hedge Laying Society.

Last year’s sections of the hedge demonstrated the best re-growth that has ever been in one season on a WCV hedge laying project, 5ft for hawthorn and 8ft for hazel from the base of the hedge. One other record broken on the hedge laying training day was the amount of litter collected from the hedgerow, 16 Biffa bags.

Bags of hedgerow litter. Photo: Paul Loughnane
Bags of hedgerow litter. Photo: Paul Loughnane

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