A keen group from the length and breadth of Gloucestershire met up on Saturday 20th February at Whichwood (across the border into Oxfordshire) courtesy of Mr Henry Warriner. Despite a muddy track, conditions in the wood were fine for coppicing to collect stakes (upright supports) and hetherings (whippier wood for horizontal binding).
Relocating to Ditchford, north of Moreton-in-Marsh, after a short refreshment break, we set about continuing the hedging started by the group twelve months ago on the farm of Mr David Gadd. Attendees were mostly a new set of people, but the group quickly set about the various skills. This involved pointing stakes and trimming existing hedging back.
This provided a base along the hedge for cutting and laying the existing hedgerow wood, between stakes placed at suitable intervals. Hetherings were added across the top. these are ‘batted down’ to make a level hedge and the tops of stakes trimmed to conclude a pleasing final product, which most importantly should make a stock-proof boundary to the field.
Because the hedge is worked from what is already there, small gaps will probably be evident as we work the hedge. A significant element of the skill passed on by our trainers, John Hall and Mike Hartnell, is to demonstrate how laying the existing wood can fill most of the gaps, which with in one or two years will create substantial new growth. Farm stock, sheep, cattle etc will find it immediately impassable, but the less obvious small animals and birds will be able to pass through it, find food in it and use it for shelter.