Hedging our Woods

If you have driven in from Ashby Lodge, or walked round the Wilderness Road, you can’t help but have noticed the hedge, partly laid, partly new planted.  The impact is greater than we could have imagined.

This hedge would once have served the purpose in keeping stock out of the Wilderness, which was a pleasure wood with wide rides and circular walks.  Abandoned more than sixty years ago, when the field was turned over to arable crops, the remaining thorn bushes had grown into trees, some eight inches in diameter.  Jacqueline had been keen to re-establish a boundary there, but I felt the hedge had passed beyond redemption  Recently we became acquainted with a competent hedge layer, Rhys Hughes, and showed him our hedge with little expectation of help.  To our surprise he thought some could be laid, and over the Christmas period, when the road was quiet, he and his colleague laid half the length we’d looked at, and felled the thorn trees on the rest.  Since then we have dug a trench, added some compost, and planted 350 quickthorn to complete the boundary.  We also added some holly to vary the mix.

In my experience a new hedge needs nutrients at the roots, and light above.  To this end we’ve felled two trees and taken off some overhanging branches.  When the leaves are on  I’ll check if we need to do more.  The whole project has cost nearly two thousand pounds; you could say it’s a ‘vanity’ project, but it gives me, and I hope others, enormous pleasure as I cycle past it on my morning ride.  Next year the plan is to go round the corner, to the hedge on the parkland side.  This still serves as a boundary for stock, but only by virtue of a strand of barbed wire stretched across the gaps.