Conservation Project Started to Relay Hedgerow at Gillotts Field

The hedgerow fence along Gillotts Field beside Greys Road is being relaid by professional hedge layer, Clive Leeke from Emmer Green to preserve it and encourage more wildlife into this habitat.

Clive has been given the contract by Henley Town Council and the work started this week to relay the 160 metres of natural fence using both the existing hedgerow and planting of new saplings in the gaps. It will take 3 weeks to complete. Clive said, “We’re rejuvenating an old hedge by using traditional layering methods and we’ll be planting hawthorn, oak, and wild privet.  I did this fencing in the mid 1990s and it’s lovely to come back to do it again. This morning I’m training some volunteers and some of the Henley Town Council parks team on how to cut and bend the existing hedgerow so that it can be woven and layered into the new fencing.”

Frankie and Geoff who are volunteers with Sonning Common Green Gym were enjoying learning a new skill.  Frankie said, “I really enjoy the work I do with the Green Gym and sometimes opportunities come up to learn new things and this is a great thing to learn. One of the most beautiful things about Oxfordshire is we have really nice hedgerows.  You can see that they have been well laid at some point in the past.  The hedgerows are really important as otherwise you are wrecking wildlife habitat.  You need to be trained by someone who is really knowledgeable like Clive.  Anything that can be done to keep up the wildlife and birds is really important.”

Ilona Livarski, Henley Town Council’s Conservation Warden  said, “I haven’t done this before and it is really cool thing to learn.  It’s quite a hard technique. First you have to cut all the excess bits off the sides to where you would like the line to be using a pruning sword and then you make an incision 2/3 through with an axe or billhook down at the base to help it bend. We’ve learnt what direction is the best way to do it and in the large gaps we have bent the bases both ways.  We are making this quite a wide hedge as we have got the space to do it and this area is part of our conservation area in the field.   Hedgerows are really good for nesting habitat. It’s not a great habitat at the moment as it is quite gappy but Clive said we likely to see 4 nests in the new hedge next Spring.  We should have lots more fruits too with this style of fencing and it will also stop any dogs escaping through on to the road.”


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