Behind the scenes with the Outdoor Team
As the months and seasons change, discover how our Outdoor Team manage and maintain Lyveden.
January & February with our Outdoor Team
Early in the year post-storm tree inspection and some clearance work was required. Several jobs have been undertaken in our cottage garden, including ‘tidying’ the ‘wild’ area, pruning back some over-vigorous clematis, winter-pruning wisteria and replanting gaps in the hedges. The main task being done at the start of the year has been hedge laying the car park hedge and the over-mature hawthorn hedge alongside the reed bed.
Hedge laying is a way of managing hedgerows to ensure that they remain a barrier for livestock, and do not just grow upwards becoming a line of large trees with sizable gaps at the bottom.
It involves cutting the majority of the way through the stem or trunk of each tree and bending it over at an angle - “laying” it down along the line of the hedge, on top of the previous tree. The ‘cut’ stem or trunk must have some bark and sapwood left connecting it to its roots to keep it alive. Then upright stakes are placed at regular intervals along the line of the hedge. The job is completed by binding the uprights by weaving green wood through them. The stakes and binders provide strength and stability to the hedge. Over time, different areas have developed their own distinctive styles, based on local requirements and available materials.
Hedge laying promotes regeneration from ground level and ensures the health and longevity of the hedgerow. A well-managed hedgerow is thick and bushy, an impenetrable barrier to sheep and cattle and a highly valuable habitat for wildlife, providing food and shelter. They also act as wildlife corridors, allowing wildlife to move freely across the countryside. According to the RSPB, hedges may support up to 80 per cent of our woodland birds, 50 per cent of our mammals and 30 per cent of our butterflies. The ditches associated with hedgerows also provide habitat for frogs, toads, newts and reptiles.
The ‘Beast from the East’ meant we were closed for a few days at the end of February, the last day of which was spent clearing drifts on the access track up the hill and three-foot drifts in the cottage garden outside the Visitor Centre!