Volunteers gather to lay hedges around Milton Keynes churchyard

Image: The Parks Trust

On Monday 20th December, The Parks Trust volunteers gathered to lay hedges around St. Andrew's churchyard.

Hedge-laying is an ancient technique used to manage hedgerows that line the edge of fields across parks and farmland. If left unmanaged, a hedgerow continues to grow upwards and outwards and will eventually become a line of trees.

The Parks Trust says hedge-laying has many benefits including keeping livestock in, providing shelter for animals and as a haven for wildlife. If hedges aren't laid, cows can lean against them and make gaps, whilst sheep can burrow underneath them.

The hedge at St. Andrew's is about 12 years old and was planted by church volunteers.

The Parks Trust describes how it is done here: "To 'lay' a hedge, tree stems are cut using hand tools and are bent over at an angle, before being secured in place with stakes and binders, which creates a living and attractive barrier. In the spring, new shoots will appear and the hedge will fill with leaves.

"From then, it will need a regular trim, but won't need laying for up to 50 years."

You can read The Parks Trust hedgerows blog here.

A spokesperson for The Parks Trust said: "Experienced hedge-laying volunteers Alan, Steve and Bob provided tuition to volunteers from the Friends of Great Linford Manor Park, who are active in conservation tasks specific to this location.

"Stakes and binders were supplied from Linford Wood during our coppicing works and ensure that the hedgerow stays firmly in place.

"Throughout the day we were kindly supplied with refreshments from St. Andrew's church, which made the cool December day seem much less chill! We will be returning with volunteers in January to continue working on the hedge.

"Well done to everyone who took part! You can admire the hedge as you approach Great Linford Manor Park from Parklands, MK14 5DZ."