Eight Long Forest volunteers from Anglesey completed a two day hedge laying course at Coleg Glyn Llifon in Caernarfon. The course aimed to train a new generation of people to manage hedges in traditional ways. The volunteers were joined by two Long Forest officers, employed by Keep Wales Tidy.

 

Gareth Evans, Long Forest officer for Anglesey said,

“The volunteers were really enthusiastic and hardworking, despite the fact that it was so cold. It was great to learn hedge laying using methods and tools that would have been familiar to people farming here a hundred years ago. The Long Forest project is equipping people to plant, manage and protect hedges. It is a valuable project which will help birds, insects and wildlife across Wales.”

 

The “Long Forest” hedgerow project is funded by the Heritage Lottery and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Keep Wales Tidy has partnered with the Woodland Trust to run the project, which recognises the contribution hedges make to Welsh heritage, and protecting biodiversity. The project tackles hedgerow decline by encouraging hedge planting, helping people to maintain hedges in a more wildlife friendly way and doing surveys to find out the state of hedges across Wales. The funding includes practical training for landowners and volunteers.

Derek, one of the Long Forest volunteers who successfully completed the LANTRA hedge laying course, said,

 "Originally my volunteering was just about giving something back to the outdoors and the environment we enjoy, but the practical woodland work: coppicing, tree planting, hedge laying has begun to be very important to me, something eagerly awaited. I really feel it contributes to my physical and personal well-being. It's hugely satisfying to be able to make a lasting contribution.”

 

Long Forest coordinator, Shane Hughes, said,

 “Hedge laying is an ancient skill which can extend the life of hedge trees almost indefinitely. Some of the managed hedges we see across Wales have been there since the time of Owain Glyndwr in medieval times. Keep Wales Tidy is proud to be protecting and planting hedges in the Welsh countryside.”