Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hedge Laying at Morden Hall Park

Morden Hall Park, London. Tuesday 12-January-2016

One of the joys of retiring is that I can do weekday volunteering. I learned of this opportunity via The Wandle Trust. The river passes through Morden Hall Park which is managed by The National Trust and they were looking for volunteers to do some hedge laying.

Apparently the purpose of the hedge is to discourage dogs being walked along the path from running into the wetland area and disturbing the habitat and birdlife.

These trees were planted several years ago and our mission was to turn them into a hedge.

The first step is to cut 75% through the trunk. It seemed a little drastic to me but apparently the outer layer is what transports the liquids up the tree and core is pretty much deadwood.

Having made the cut we bend the trunk over with much cracking and tearing. So as long as there is some outer trunk intact the hedge will continue to grow.

By lunch time we had a stretch of pretty rough and ready hedge and broke for lunch.

After lunch we headed for a stand of hazel trees to practice the ancient art of coppicing. We harvested a mixture of thick trunks for stakes and longer thin suckers for the runners.

The stakes are inserted every 18 inches in as near a straight line as we could.

Starting with three rods at the first post, we weave round the posts.

At the next post we introduced a new rod between the existing rods and weave that along. Rinse and repeat until we had done the entire stretch.

Finally the tops of the posts are tidied up to make them neater; easy with a chain saw.

A job well done and a most satisfactory day out.

The Wandle Trust is an environmental charity dedicated to restoring and maintaining the health of the River Wandle and its catchment. They hold community river cleanups on the second Sunday of every month, up and down this unique urban chalkstream – pulling out everything from shopping trolleys to shotguns, and improving the environment for birds, fish, insects and local people. For more visit: http://www.wandletrust.org/.

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