Burghley House | Preserving a vital feature of our rural landscape –…
Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying After7
Burghley Land & Nature
24 Jan 2024

Preserving a vital feature of our rural landscape – Hedgerows

This winter, Burghley’s Forestry team has been working on an important project sited at Tinwell Drift, Easton-on-the-Hill, to restore a 400m stretch of derelict hedgerow.

Tinwell Drift (Easton-on-the-Hill) is situated a couple of miles west of Burghley House. An idyllic place to visit for dog walkers and nature enthusiasts, where a vantage point boasts panoramic views of Stamford on one side and the sweeping scenes of Rutland’s rolling countryside on the other.

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying Ketton Cement Factory

Views of the Ketton Cement Factory, Rutland

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying Sheep

Views of Stamford and its surrounding countryside

The mile-long trail also includes tall hedgerows on either side of the pathway, bordering farm fields and allotments, some belonging to Burghley Estate. But as for any other healthy hedgerow, they are more useful than just borders or dividers, hedgerows are historically and culturally important. They provide an immense contribution to biodiversity and valuable refuge for wildlife.

Following local land inspections carried out by Burghley Head Forester, Peter Glassey, he deemed this network of hedgerows neglected, unfit for wildlife habitation, aesthetically unappealing, and in need of immediate revitalisation.

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying View of the trail

Tinwell Drift Trail

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying Peter Glassey

Burghley Head Forester, Peter Glassey (accompanied by his dog Maud), working on the renewed hedge

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying Before1

Before any hedge-laying began!

Teaming up with Forestry & Arboriculture Specialists, Harnan Forestry, ‘hedge-laying’ began at the end of last year.

Hedge-laying is a traditional rural skill, often considered an art form, encompasses various styles and techniques, each region boasting its unique approach. These age-old methods have been employed for centuries to nurture and rejuvenate hedgerows, just like the one at Tinwell Drift.

The experts from Harnan and Burghley decided on the Midland Style - traditional craftsmanship using hazel stakes and binders. This technique not only addresses the practical aspect of hedge maintenance but also introduces an attractive element to the landscape.

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying After17

Hazel stakes and binders

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying After16

Midland style technique

Tinwell Drift Hedge Laying After7

Section complete after hedge-laying maintenance

The rebirth of spring is poised to showcase its beauty through Tinwell Drift’s renewed line of hedgerows – preserving this network of hedges ensures a vibrant future for both the rural landscape and its welcome inhabitants.

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Hedgerows and their history...

Small and mighty! Hedges clean our air, capture carbon, reduce flooding, aid biodiversity, and give clues to historic land management.

England is famous for its network of beautiful hedgerows, the framework of a traditional British countryside landscape, and thankfully there is a much greater appreciation of the role that hedges play for us and wildlife, but this hasn’t always been the case...

Hedgerows were primarily planted during the Bronze Age to act as living barriers for containing stock in newly cleared woodland areas.

However, with post-agricultural intensification, hedgerows were removed at a much faster rate than they were planted. In some regions of the country, as much as 50 percent of hedgerows have been lost. Nevertheless, since the 1990s, the removal of hedgerows has slowed down as their significance for wildlife has been acknowledged.

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