Hedge laying

Rangers laying a hedge on the Bath Skyline

The Bath Skyline rangers spend time each winter restoring hedgerow habitat. They use traditional methods known as hedge laying, to rejuvenate the plants and improve the habitat for wildlife.

Video

Bath Skyline conservation: hedge laying

Our rangers use traditional techniques to look after the hedges on the Skyline, tackling a new hedge every year. Winter is the time for this habitat restoration work - before the birds start to nest in the spring.

What is hedge laying?

The process involves cutting the plants within the hedge, and laying them down - encouraging them to then produce more shoots that grow upwards.

How do you do it?

The trunk is cut at an angle most of the way through with a bilhook, or chainsaw. Part of the trunk is left in-tact so that the water and nutrients can still flow and keep the plant alive. It is then laid down on top of already laid hedge. In the following spring and summer the hedge produces new growth.

After around 6 years the process is repeated so that the hedge structure gets thicker and thicker.

Ranger working on a hedge laying project
Ranger working on a hedge laying project
Ranger working on a hedge laying project

Why lay a hedge?

The process provides a neat looking hedge, and in time provides a stock-proof barrier. Hedge-laying also creates a great habitat for a number of wildlife groups - including birds, small mammals, and wildflowers.

A laid hedge with fresh growth in spring
A laid hedge with fresh growth in spring
A laid hedge with fresh growth in spring