Sunday 4 March 2012: A Living Wall
Hiking around the Ty Canol Wood this afternoon, we passed an impressive example of hedge laying. I've seen this only a few times before and it always impresses me. It's essentially a British tradition, and there are several styles in different parts of the country. To act as much as a wall as a row of plants, the branches are half-cut, laid horizontal and twisted into place. The plants grow upward and a few years later, the process is repeated, which makes the hedge stronger each time. Old hedges of this sort get so strong that one can walk along the top as though it were a wall (and this has been done during blizzard conditions).
Many different species of plants can combine in a hedgerow, and the finished product is not only an extremely effective barrier for keeping animals where they belong, but a habitat for birds and many other small animals as well. The loss of laid hedges and the widespread us of fences in their place is one of the countless ways in which the world has gotten more bland and less friendly to living things during the past century.