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Members enjoy hedgerow talk

CPRE Bedfordshire members attending the recent AGM were fascinated to hear Paul Blissett, a professional hedge layer, explaining the techniques behind the age-old craft of hedge laying.

Supported by images of the local countryside, Paul explained how hedgerows had evolved over the centuries and the impact that they have had on farming and biodiversity. Hedge laying emerged as a method to manage field boundaries and control livestock before the advent of modern fences. Different regions in the UK developed distinct styles, each adapted to local needs and vegetation.

Paul Blissett’s talk was richly illustrated.

Paul described the process of hedge laying, from clearing the undergrowth to cutting and “pleaching” the existing hedge and bending and staking the remaining stems. The end result being a thing of beauty as well acting as a stock-proof barrier that will also thrive as a habitat for numerous species, from insects and birds to small mammals.
It was reassuring to hear that this traditional craft is still carried out across the country by professionals and volunteers who are helping to protect both the landscape and the environment.

This year’s talk following our AGM could not have been timelier given that CPRE Bedfordshire is working on our own Hedgerow Heroes Project to create more hedgerows in our county!