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Brinton – The Return of the Hedge Layers

A lovely sunny and fresh Thursday 7th March saw the return to Nine Holes of the Brinton Massive, with Series 2 Hedge Laying 2024, The Final Chapter. 


The master, Nick, led the hedge laying team comprising Stuart and Andrew, while Seán offered to take on the planting of 40 assorted whips. After a walk around the perimeter boundary identifying a number of areas with quite large gaps in the hedgerow and/or lack of low vegetation of any sort, Seán set about digging and planting. 

The previous session of hedge laying was undertaken in January with a length of about 15 metres completed, and it was great to see how already the hedge was greening up beautifully, with lots of new shoots at lower level. Nick noted that sometimes the plants can 'sulk' a little in the first year (or to be more kind they can be a little shocked into slow growth), however the signs are good that Nine Holes is not a place for sulking. Also, the wet and relatively mild winter may be helping fund fresh new growth. However, this new greenery in the un-laid hedgerow meant that it was a little late to be hedge laying, but Nick said that this could be offset by cutting back less than you might normally, so as not to waste too many new green shoots.


Both Stuart and Nick had billhooks which meant good progress was made quite quickly. However, the challenge was that there were some quite wide gaps in the hedgerow and this had to be overcome by tackling a couple of quite thick stemmed 'trees'. It is pretty tiring getting through thicker trunks with the small billhooks but it was worth the effort as it enabled the laying of some quite long branches to weave into and partially fill the larger gaps. 


By coffee and doughnut time Seán had made great strides in whip planting along the eastern boundary and a further 15 metres of the hedge had been laid, ready to have the stakes and binders done after the refuelling break. The stakes and binders sourced from the Sustead sites had been brought by Nick, fitting easily in the back of his VW Camper, and we made good use of most of them, with the remaining set aside for Series 3: Winter 2025, when we hope to complete the final 15 metres.


A great day was had by all, with all 40 whips planted and the second third of the hedgerow completed. We all felt pleased with the half-gap-toothed look, agreeing that Instagrammable perfection in looks isn't everything, with our hedge triumphing in the character and functionality stakes!


Andrew Stokes


7th March 2024


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