Thursday, 19 December 2013

A hedge story.

I’m having a bleak time at the moment, losing all my battles, all at once.

This morning, crisp and bright, in between showers of rain I walked down to Ankerwycke which would have been where the planespotters would have stood to watch the big jets taking off from Heathrow Airport’s newest runway. In the event it isn’t happening – not here anyway.

This is National Trust Land even though that wouldn’t have saved it. And the wardens have been busy;

This is a hedge that was planted about 5 or 6 years ago. Now it’s grown up it’s been ‘laid’.

The trees and bushes are cut near the ground but only part of the way through. It means they go on growing and create a dense interlocking hedge that cows can’t get through. It’s early days yet which is why there is also a wire fence until its ready. It's a thing of beauty.

In this part of the world these hedges are alien – it was always pollarded willow trees, linked together. That’s probably because livestock wasn’t so common – hooves don’t like waterlogged ground.

I miss the willows – when they are pollarded they make ghostly shapes in the mist and when they grow out you get the classic weeping willow shape.

A changing landscape with a wild look.

Yesterday, the great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs died.  

About a mile from this hedge, down by the river Thames is where Buster Edwardes, another Great Train Robber hid out until he headed off to Mexico. Who knows, maybe Ronnie hid there too. Perhaps I should post a few more shady stories of the underworld from these parts?

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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