I have just had a new experience and it is addictive! This might sound a bit exaggerated when talking about hedge laying but I have caught the bug, off The Crumblies.
I hope to bring you the history of The Crumblies at some point but in broad terms they are a group of volunteers who have reached retirement but who wish to keep active and continue the tradition and skill of hedge laying while offering a public benefit. This in itself is inspirational in our modern times.
I came across them through Brandy Hole Copse and the work they have done to maintain and improve this nature reserve North West of Chichester. Here they manage tree growth and have also laid the Copse hedge beside the B2178.
St Mary's in 1929 with a managed hedge.
At about the same time I came across a photograph of the approach to St Mary’s Sennicotts on Chapel Lane. You will see from the black and white photograph a hedge at least under control.
Having discussed the idea with Peter he agreed they would tackle what probably amounted to the most challenging hedge in their history! What’s more they would start on his 80th birthday.
I agreed to help whenever possible and on my first outing I was hooked. We were fortunate to have a beautiful Autumn day and methodically we worked our way along the hedge. Selecting which growth to incorporate in the new hedge and which bits to cut out. Then carefully cutting it enough to lay down, weaving between the stakes and trimming off the tail. The Crumblies are a great bunch to work with. They have a solid work ethic, they enjoy their work and each other’s company. They were very kind to let me join them and we all got stuck in – although I did keep stopping to take photographs because the finished effect is magical – pure English countryside at its finest: the mark of ‘handmade’ by men who take pride in their work.
I’ve included some photographs below and I will update you as we make progress.