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Supporting the ancient rural craft of hedgelaying

Published: 10 February 2021

Hedge Laying Hedgelaying in Ludwell Valley.

The ancient rural craft of hedgelaying is alive and well in Exeter, thanks partly to a team from the City Council.

Gardeners from the Council’s Public and Green Spaces team recently laid a hedge in Ludwell Valley, adjacent to Topsham Road.

Not only is it good to keep this ancient craft going – it benefits the wildlife that live off and around it – it also helps the Council in its efforts to cut its carbon emissions, as the hedge will not have to be cut for a number of years now because of this intervention.

“This is just one of the ways that our team are using their skills to improve habitat and biodiversity,” said Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for City Management.

“Hedgerows are living structures which support a variety of plant species which have a beneficial effect on wildlife,” he added.

The hedgerow will be allowed to grow over the next three years to increase the flower and berry production and will benefit the hedge by producing strong lower down growth to support the hedge for many years to come.

Hedges over time become grow upwards to the detriment of lower growth, and if left they no longer provide good habitat for wildlife. A well maintained hedge not only keeps rural skills alive, but they help to provide good habitat for small animals and birds.

Cllr Harvey said initiatives like this also helped the Council in its endeavours to become net zero carbon by 2030.

“The team’s efforts to support the hedge mean it will not have to be cut as often as it would have done without their intervention, saving fuel spent on running tractors or hedge trimmers and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Cllr Harvey.

The Council is becoming less dependent on petrol machinery as more convenient, lighter and quieter electric machinery is added to the equipment available.

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