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Author Topic: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
Ken Hume
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Post Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: December 8, 2013, 19:47
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On a cool dry day in early December 2013 the Hazel Team assembled to select, cut and grade hazel stakes and binders to get Phase II of the 2013-14 OWG hedgelaying project underway

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Ancient hazel stools growing along the woodland "bank and ditch" boundary were carefully examined to ensure that no sleeping dormice in the stool would be disturbed and then the team proceeded to select and cut out stems that could be used for both stakes and binders.

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At the close of the day as the sun was going down the team posed behind their woodland bounty laid out and ready for hedge laying to commence.

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Job well done - a big thanks to The Hazel Team.

Ken Hume Executive Trustee - The Oxfordshire Woodland Group

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: March 14, 2014, 09:00
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After a very wet January and February 2014 eventually the rain stopped sufficiently to get the 2014 Phase II hedge laying underway at the beginning of March 2014.

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Rhiannon winding the hazel binders to stiffen and secure the laid hedge.

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For ease of working a clearway has been made along the outside face of the hedge to ensure safe working for laying over each hedge stem. following completion of a stretch the lop & top will be relaid back against the outside face of the hedge to create a temporary dead hedge that should help protect regrowth sprouts from deer browsing.

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Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: April 6, 2014, 09:37
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Eventually the weather improved encouraging hedgerow bud burst to arrive much earlier than expected and so only half of this years planned Phase II target of laying 100 metres of hedge was completed by the end of March. It was decided to call a halt and complete the balance of 50 metres during autumn 2014 after bird nesting season is over and hopefully before that start of winter storms and wet.

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The Phase II (autumn 2014) hegde row is quite different from Phase II (spring 2014) with much larger deformed stems that are reaching out towards the road to gather light.

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The visual impact of the removal of a row of larch trees to create a woodland ride and also to help increase the level of light reaching the laid hedge hedge is now clearly evident.

Andrew and Rhiannon enjoy a well deserved Easter egg whilst admiring their handiwork.

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Rhiannon gets to work knitting the hazel binders around the staves - now was that left over right and under or ???

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We gratefully thank and acknowledge The Chilterns Conservation Board for providing financial support to help us undertake this work and look forward to completion of same in autumn 2014 and very much hope that this traditional country craft work will improve the visual ammenity of The Chiltern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for all passers bye to enjoy.

Ken Hume - Oxfordshire Woodland Group

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: April 19, 2014, 11:53
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The difference in the presence of a ground herb layer on the woodland ride created by the 2013 hedge laying and tree felling project compared with that of -

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the 2014 laid hedge has revealed a stark contrast in the presence of ground flora.

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The hedge laying project together with the woodland edge tree removal work is allowing more light to reach the laid hedge and woodland floor resulting in an improved environment for woodland flora migrating inwards from the woodland margin.

Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: July 26, 2014, 08:39
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By the middle of a hot (27c) summer the hawthorn hedge is growing well with many stem sprouts evident

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and even coppice shoot regrowth from the basal cut that appears to be avoiding deer browsing pressure.

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Some of the higher hedge material is managing to grow and get away above browse height.

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One thick stem was pollarded on an experimental basis to assess the effect that deer browsing was having on regrowth and this would appear to be very significant.

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It might be appropriate to simply pollard very tall leggy hedges to help facilitate an overall reduction in hedge height which could then subsequently be further reduced in height over a much longer cycle to help bring the growing height of the hedge back down towards ground level thereby helping to avoid the risk of loosing large sections of hedge to deer browsing.

Ken Hume - Oxfordshire Woodland Group

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: September 3, 2014, 07:03
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Dates are now set ( 23rd October 2014 onwards ) to complete the remaining section of this hedge i.e. during school half term week.

Persons wishing to help with hazel stake & binder cutting are welcome to get involved ahead of these dates so that the hedge layers will have a good stock of materials to work with.

Please contact

Ken Hume Executive Trustee - Oxfordshire Woodland Group

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: October 22, 2014, 19:31
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Good progress has been made harvesting hazel hedging stakes and binders ready for start of hedge laying.

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The binders were harvested today and so being green should be nice a flexible unlike some of the two month old binders that were rejected by Rhiannon last year because they had dried out even though it was a very wet winter (Jan & Feb).

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Hedge laying started of 23rd Oct 2014. Andrew made a stake driving commander from a section and branch cut out of an oak tree that had to be felled along with parts of the tall stragley hawthorn hedge.

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This device is not used like a hammer but instead is swung rythmicly like a pendulum allowing the dead weight of the commander head to come down on the stake to drive this home fairly effortlessly.

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The last section of hedge to be laid had considerably larger diameter stems with a pronounced lean out over the verge towards the road. Some of these stems have had to be cut off a ground level with a few of the straighter large stem pollarded above deer browse height resulting in a less than regular stretch of laid stems. The wide verge area has been cleared of rubbish and in due course will be planted up with woodland margin trees and bushes to greatly improve the wildlife habitat.

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Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 430
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Post Re: Hedge Laying Project - Phase II - 2013-14
on: October 31, 2014, 20:06
Quote

The last Phase II hedge stem was laid on 31 Oct 2014.

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Cutting down and removal of the large overhanging hawthorn stems has created a significant cleared area of woodland roadside verge that now has much improved light levels and hopefully in due course this will result in a much improved habitat for wildflowers and butterflies to proliferate.

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Having laid this last section of hedge when the hawthorn fruits were still present in abundance on the bough the lop and top from Phase II hedgelaying was then used to create a new roadside deadhedge. This has created a short term habitat and food resource for small mammals and birds and hopefully in due course it should encourage the development of a naturally generated roadside hedge.

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The dead hedge will help protect the wild flower haven from flytipping and off road parking.

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An excellent discourse on hedge laying is provided in Wood Wise summer 2014 magazine published by The Woodland Trust.

Ken Hume

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