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Billhooks at Brinton

We (Sean, Andrew, Stuart and I) enjoyed a splendid morning at Brinton Nine Holes exploring the delights of hedge laying. Why lay a hedge? I hear you cry! Well, a well laid hedge reinvigorates the hedge, ensuring healthy growth right up from the base – rather than a straggly, ill-kept effort produced by flailing. Traditionally a laid hedge would provide a stock-proof barrier without the need for barbed wire.



I gave the chaps a demonstration of how to use a billhook to pleach the hedge stems and then we set to work, trimming and thinning, clearing and laying the boundary hedge. Everyone had a go at all the tasks and seemed to enjoy the quiet charms of a good lay. Once we had a section trimmed, we placed our pre-prepared stakes approximately 2 feet apart and drove them in with a homemade mallet (bludger). Bindings were woven through to help stabilise our hedge and finally brash added to the base to try and deter the Muntjac. Last task was a top trim of the stakes and we were done.



A first session of around 15 yards felt about right and hopefully we’ll be able to have another go or two before the end of the laying season. A big thanks to Sean and Susan for transporting over the stakes and binders.

 

Nick Stubbs

 

January 4th 2024

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