The South London chapter of SHG have in recent years worked on three hedges at the Avery Hill campus of The University of Greenwich but none of the size and complexity of this one. Running almost uninterrupted for 170 meters down the side of the football pitches and adjacent to one of the main access roads on the campus, it is a planted, amenity-style hedge but with very little Hawthorn and dominated by substantial Field Maples.
The other species in the hedge are Hazel, Spindle, Dog Rose, Holly, Privet and Guelder Rose, plus a few self-seeded Oak and Sycamore.
As well as two large gaps that had been deliberately left in the planting - one of which will be staked-through for later planting up - there were areas of severely reduced growth due to the overshadowing of the large maples.Also, the Spindle and Guelder Rose had not done well on the heavy soil and block-planting meant other areas of poor growth.
The object of the exercise was to bring, what was fast turning into a line of trees, under control and produce a thick wildlife-friendly hedge. Regular SHG(SL) member Fred being temporarily out of action, Ian, Tony and myself set about this last Monday with the hope - on my part - of completing the job within the week. I soon realised that I may have underestimated the task. There was a considerable amount of wood to be removed and whilst the remaining maples and Hazel went down well the Holly and especially the Privet took an age to work through.
However, the weather was kind, with only some light drizzle on Wednesday and with ten man-days worked by the end of Thursday we had 100 meters laid, staked and bound. Friday was a day of rest and boy did I need it - although I did have to go to Crossness to take some willows out of the reed beds there.
Must also mention here the excellent stakes and binders supplied by Paul Mathews. These were a mix of red Birch and Hazel and very consistent in size throughout, enhancing the look of the finished hedge.
So, we're back on Monday to finish off the job, hopefully by the end of Tuesday and I'll update the blog after that.