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GBC 2021 Hedge laying Update

A view of Dolau Llwydion adjacent to the Frenni Fawr

This Winter Growing Better Connections and Coppicewood College worked together to lay a hedge at Dolau Llwydion, a beautiful farm owned and managed by the Weekes’ brothers Peter, and Stephen. Situated just outside Boncath in Northeast Pembrokeshire, the Weekes family have been farming here for almost 50 years.

The Weekes' suckler herd

Peter and Stephen have 300 ewes, a mixture of Texel and Suffolk, as well as a suckler herd, made up of Limousin and Charolais crosses, with an impressive Limousin bull. They grow 24 acres of barley and oats mixed with rye grass each year, which are milled to feed their cattle during the Winter months.

Growing Better Connections visited Peter and Stephen earlier in 2021 and were delighted to be able to work with them to pleach or ‘lay’ one of their hedges. Most of the hedges on the farm were laid forty years previously and the hedge in question was not only prime for laying, but also a great ‘starter’ hedge for students.

The hedge laying took place over three days in November. The course was scheduled for four days, however storm Arwen put a stop to the fourth day - hedge laying in high winds is not advisable! Before any work was completed on the hedge, Coppicewood instructors, Tracey, David, and Claire, explained the history behind hedge laying, introduced the various hand tools needed to lay a hedge effectively and demonstrated ‘pleaching’, the technique crucial to master for any hedge worker.

Slides created by Tracey Styles, instructor at Coppicewood College

There was a mixture of 10 intrepid students working the hedge during the three-day course. By the end of the third day, most of the hedge line was laid, the hedge stakes were in place and the resultant brash was woven into the hedge to plug any gaps.

Hedge laying in progress, footage taken by Marc Pell for Growing Better Connections.

This remarkable example of teamwork could not have been achieved without the help of Peter and Stephen Weekes, Coppicewood College and our amazing hedge laying students. Growing Better Connections would like to say a BIG THANK YOU, to all involved! Your work has contributed to our aim of creating bigger, better, and more joined up habitats across Pembrokeshire.

We are planning another hedge laying course in the Winter of 2022 at Field of Beans, an inspiring, productive, inclusive and ‘no-dig’ community garden near Blaenffos. Watch THIS SPACE for details, and to book your place on the course. We hope to see you there!

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