Dry by eleven........

At least that's what Gabrielle had us believe as we met in a showery Car Park on Wednesday 4th June, with the day's forecast looking less than jolly.  I'm glad to report Gabrielle was almost right, things did brighten up pretty quickly until Tom's arrival earned him the 'bringer of rain' title for the day.  Thankfully the downpour didn't last too long and conveniently coincided with tea break, so a temporary huddling under trees with steaming mugs of tea was called for.

Our task for the day was to dead hedge an area along Pembury Walks to prevent vehicle access and fly tipping.  On arrival, our job had been made easier by the installation of metal bars as a temporary deterrent.  We were able to use these as the foundation to our hedge.

Charlotte and Gareth cut Sweet Chestnut from non sensitive habitat areas to create the initial uprights.  We then set about harvesting invasive Birch and additional Sweet Chestnut for the horizontal weaving material.  Once we had a good stock pile Dave, Gareth, Peter and I set to weaving the hedge, whilst Charlotte and Gabrielle provided a continuous supply of fresh material.

Rapid results can be achieved with dead hedging, in addition to an aesthetically pleasing barrier, there is the potential habitat value too.

Tom recommended creating an internal row of hedging for additional strength and security.  Here Dave shows off his prowess as the 'fastest spade in the South East' whilst attempting to dig holes for the inner row of uprights.

Whilst this might look like Tom is in 'supervisor mode', he had just swapped duties with Gareth, it was mighty hard work after all........

Four cheeky chappies - Peter, Tom, Gareth and Dave, still have the energy to share a joke as they marvel at the hedge they've created.

They are soon joined by two more suspicious characters - Charlotte and Gabrielle, whose efforts in cutting material and dragging it up hill in the heat, were integral to the success of the project.

Our six excellent hedge layers........

And one Lesser Spotted Claire!

We're glad to report Tom lived to tell the tale after seemingly being consumed by the new hedge.

What a great result - mostly decent weather, some Birch control and a substantial section of  dead hedge by the end of the day.  Many thanks to Charlotte, Dave, Gabrielle, Gareth and Peter for turning out despite the forecast and to Tom who made a special, final Tudeley Work Party appearance (with cheesecake!!) before leaving us for Devon and pastures new.  Bon voyage Tom, we'll miss your witty ways.