In early March 2011 we carried out a series of project days at Flatford with David Piper of the National Trust, in order to develop the countryside management skills of as many volunteers as possible. A total of over 40 volunteers were able to get involved with the training. Volunteers came from a number of organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, the National Trust and the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project.
This project involved hedgelaying training with expert hedgelayer Alan Adcock. Alan is an expert in all things countryside with over 50 years experience working in the Suffolk and Essex area. Interestingly Alan was born in the local area and has spent a great deal of time working around East Bergholt.
The team had a great time getting to grips with the Suffolk style of hedgelaying as instructed by Alan. The style relies on laying the hedge without the use of stakes and binders. The hedge is formed by thining the material available and using the excess to fill where necessary. It is a highly effective, efficient and fast technique. The results of the training speak for themselves with the various teams getting far more work done than originally intended.
The standard of the work is excellent and if you happen to be visiting Flatford then it is well worth a walk up the path to see how it is developing. The blue line on the map below indicates the line of the hedge which has been layed.