Saturday, 24 October 2009

Hedge Laying in Agriculture.

I'm not too keen on the trend in recent years for artists to place their objects/art into landscape, it seems like a random intrusion. The exception though are the works of Richard Long and Andy Goldworthy, who introduced their 'land' or 'earth' art in the eighties.They seemed to have an involvement with the earth's own resources, and explored the natural bonds and tensions that exist in nature. Much of Goldworthy's work only survives in photographs because he used the transient materials found in landscape.I'm not quite sure why, but the subject of this post,- hedges- put me in mind of their work again.
Anyway,good bit of news - the ancient craft of keeping hedges going has been celebrated by the "National Hedge Laying Championships" in Herefordshire today.Not a subject of high profile in agriculture at the moment in comparison to GM's etc, but they are an important element of agricultural husbandry.There is a National Hedge Laying Society, great stuff! Hedges have been around for thousands of years apparently,and nowadays play an important ecological role in providing 'corridors' for wildlife to travel through the countryside. Every forty to fifty years hedges need rejuvenating from the base to start new healthy growth again, and this is where the skills of 'hedge laying' come in. The hedges shown in my photographs above are not managed in this way, and are flailed by large machines to keep them in shape.They are still pretty impressive sculptures though.
A new younger generation is needed now to learn hedge laying skills. Anyone interested?

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