Despite the driving rain, spirits were high and we had a great turn out for this years hedge laying event. Held at East Titchberry Farm, which lies East of Hartland point and showcases a lovely 15th century farmhouse, wonderful vernacular buildings, including a rare 18th century Malt House and provides access to the stunning views provided by the South West coast Path, including Shipload Bay.
After a brief tour and demonstration from the Ranger we all got stuck in slashing, lopping, cutting, burning, laying and ’crooking’ and within 2 days were triumphant, laying our final Hazel pleacher, which we now know is simply a cut and laid stem, also known as a steeper. This may sound quite brutal but in fact actually becomes very therapeutic, especially to the sound of a babbling brook and a crackling fire. At the end of the day and as the fire abated and marsh mallows bubbled in the embers we basked in our achievement and the rays of the Autumn sun.
Rural skills see a revival during a series of Devon Hedge Week workshops run on National Trust Properties in October, these include Stone walling, coppicing and Hedge laying, amongst others. This not only keeps our traditions alive but helps to maintain valuable habitats and associated species. Its also great fun and very rewarding so why not have a go yourself.