On Friday 27th October, as part of Devon Hedge week, Transition Homes organised an introduction to hedge-laying workshop at Clay Park.
It was a beautiful sunny and mild day, much better than expected for late October! 12 people joined Martin Stallard, who specialises in hedge laying and stonework, to learn the basics of traditional hedge-laying using hand tools. Martin explained the benefits of managing hedgerows in this way including creating habitat for wildlife, and demonstrated how to use a billhook - then everyone paired off and (with frequent questions to Martin) tried it themselves.
Having worked up an appetite we enjoyed a hot lunch from the Kitchen Table, and in the afternoon continued with hedge-laying, completing a substantial section of our southern boundary. Quite a lot of material is removed during hedge-laying, and it looks quite dramatic however next year we expect substantial new growth as there is plenty of sunlight along this section. The hedge will be laid again after 7-10 years.
Afterwards Myrtle Cooper of Wild & Curious led a group on a foraging walk of Clay Park, discovering various edible delights in the hedgerows and meadow, and we enjoyed cups of watermint, ground ivy and nettle tea made over the fire.
Both events proved so popular that we had a waiting list, and we will be running more hedge & foraging events in the spring, including renovation of a stone-faced bank (traditional Devon hedge bank) and creation of a new section of Devon hedge, alongside other conservation activities. Preliminary dates for the hedge work are March 7th - 9th. Please drop us an email if you're interested.
We are grateful for the funding from Postcode Local Trust, supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, which paid for Martin and Myrtle's tuition, and bought tools and gloves for workshop participants.