The Hedge-cutter that wasn't

October 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Graeme-Walker_Hedhe Layer_0940Graeme-Walker_Hedhe Layer_0940Specialist Traditional Hedgelayer, Greme Walker from Kelso.

I met a really interesting man when out for my walk today along the Railway Path between Innerleithen and Glenormiston.

I saw lots of hedges cut down and wondered why - but I needn't have worried.

Graeme Walker, from Kelso, is a rare breed of Specialist Traditional Hedgelayer and he explained to me what the method involved.

Once these old rural skills were the norm, before mixed landowners, following larger estates land sell-offs, started using modern machinery to trim hedges.

By cutting the trunks of each plant in a precisely acute angle near their bases and laying the hedge trunks down but not dissecting them completely, the hedge undergrowth thickens and creates a more effective wind-break which also provides much better habitat for wildlife.

It was great to see these traditional skills being employed here and I told him about my sister, Dianne Smith from Fintry, Stirlingshire, who headed-up a Rural Skills Course for Scottish Secondary Schools in liaison with the Scottish Parliament, prior to her retirement in 2017, through her school at Balfron where she taught kids with special needs.

Graeme had several axes and a wooden mallet for tools, but also uses a chainsaw when needed.

So if like me you think it a shame if you see hedges laid down this way, then rest assured that they are in expert hands.

Hedge Layer Tools_0944Hedge Layer Tools_0944 Hedge Layer Tools_0943Hedge Layer Tools_0943

 


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