Keeping traditional skills alive

Keeping traditional skills alive

Years ago hedgelaying could be seen across the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but in recent years fewer and fewer hedges are managed in this way.

In a bid to keep the ancient skill alive, the Cotswolds Conservation Board is running several weekend courses during November, December & January.

They follow in the footsteps of the Board's popular dry stone wall training events, more of which are planned for later in 2006.

By offering training courses, it is hoped local people will learn more about ancient skills and trades, which are in danger of dying out if the techniques aren't passed on.

Qualified trainers will show trainees how hedgelaying is done and explain the importance of this craft to the landscape of the area.

Mark Connelly, from the Cotswolds Conservation Board explained:

"Modern hedgelaying dates from the late 1700s and is used because however close stems in a hedgerow are to each other some animals will manage to push through.

"By cutting the base of each stem part the way through and bending the whole plant sideways, the space between is effectively sealed.

"The cut stems remain alive allowing new stems to shoot up from the stump and bent over branches, producing a lattice which is a solid barrier.

"The result is an impressive interwoven hedge, which provides a barrier to animals."

Hedgelaying also keeps the hedges vigorous and healthy, which is important because as well as marking field boundaries they are full of wildlife

The two-day training events are being held at Great Rissington and cost £50.

For more information call Mark Connelly at the Cotswolds Conservation Board on 01451 862006.