The Council now owns the Camlet Way green spaces and agreed, when it took them over from the Crown Estate, to sort the broken boundary fencing along Verulam Road with the longer term “green” solution of a laid hedge. It has awarded a contract to Donato Cinicolo, an independent local craftsman and hedge-laying champion, to do the work. He has provided the following information:
-A pre-existing hedge on this boundary was probably last laid over fifty years ago.
-It is now full of gaps, so needs re-laying, which will generate some 500% more new shoots from the roots, and will also need planting up – in one place there is nothing growing across 30ft except old Elder.
-Elder grows at twice the speed of other plants, overshadows them and stunts other hedge plants, creating big gaps.
-Small birds nest in low, tight hedges. Tall hedges with lots of low gaps are only good for magpies, jackdaws, and crows.
-A laid hedge is a natural, living fence, and wildlife corridor, unlike any other man-made fence.
- A laid hedge improves with age, the opposite of man-made fences.
-Old hedge material and brush left in piles attracts insects which feed on dead material; this in turn attracts birds. This is also cover for small mammals.
Donato suggests that after he has completed laying the hedge, a working party of residents help to clear litter and carry out the necessary additional hedge planting to include some hundreds of young hawthorn ‘whips’, together with young hazel and buckthorn. He also suggests planting areas of flowers, as these will benefit from newly opened up bank areas that will have more light. As a local resident himself, he has very kindly offered to lead such work parties at no cost. He is very happy for people to take an interest in what he is doing when he is working, for if residents are far more involved with the hedge, it benefits everyone.
The Society, together with Donato, suggest Sunday 18 March, 10.00 am – 1.00 pm, for this. Confirmation a week or two before will be made by mail shot to nearby residents, when we know we have the whips to plant! Do, please, reserve the date if you can in the meantime.
Photographs showing the hedge re-creation work can be seen by clicking here