Once on site, a quick glance confirmed that we were faced with a hedge of two halves. The top half was well endowed with our old friend Rubus fruticosus (Bramble) and a fair amount of blackthorn sucker growth. Consequently, it was no surprise that most of the early-bird cutters had gravitated to the bottom half of the hedgerow which was mainly very dense hazel but devoid of bramble.
Nonetheless, everyone got stuck in and progress was soon being made. Marcus Broome and Graham West, on adjacent cants to each other, were working on the blackthorn/bramble section of the hedge. Having cut back about a metre and a half of blackthorn sucker growth they finally got to the hedge proper. However, beyond the hedge was a thicket of bramble which was growing over and through the hedge and also needed removing. Upon finally clearing all the excess overgrowth from his cant, Marcus declared that he must surely hold the record for the amount of preliminary work required on a hedge, to which Graham replied that it was a record that he was welcome to keep!
Elsewhere, chairman Phil Hart unleashed his chainsaw and made very short work of the overgrowth on at least two cants of hedge. He was, however, rewarded with the usual banter about the amount of kit he had plus the noise level accompanying his saw.
In the afternoon there was the briefest shower of rain despite Chris Burchell-Collins' best attempt at a rain dance, and the predicted persistent rain didn't arrive until the majority of cutters had left. We were particularly lucky in this regard as in the West of the County heavy hail showers had been falling throughout the day.
At close of play the 'hedge of two halves' looked very respectable indeed and everyone had contributed well. Our hosts were very impressed by our efforts and at the end of the day you can't ask for more than that. It was great to see a really good turn out from the Society with a good mix of experienced and novice cutters and as always, the good-natured banter was flowing aplenty.
Huge thanks once again to Phil Hart, David Droscher and Frank Wright for organising the day and ensuring that the stakes and binders were where they needed to be, and a very big thank you to our hosts for looking after us so well.
Author :- Graham West