The 2018 National Hedge Laying Championship is to be held at Lark Rise Farm, Cambridgeshire.
The Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) and National Hedge Laying Society (NHLS) are extremely happy to announce that the 40th National Hedge Laying Championship in 2018 will take place on the CRT’s flagship farm; Lark Rise, in Cambridgeshire.
The hedgelaying competition is not only a contest between some of the finest hedgelayers in the country, but also a showcase for the different styles that have historically been associated with various regions. The competition is divided into separate classes for the regional styles with some having a separate category for less experienced cutters.
According to Dr. Vince Lea, Head of Wildlife Monitoring at the CRT, “having a variety of shapes and sizes of hedge will benefit the greatest range of species on a farm, from tightly clipped to overgrown but it’s important to understand the farm’s objectives. Fundamentally hedgerows are ‘managed habitats’ and should be integrated into a farm’s plan. The network of habitat connections provided by hedgerows allow wildlife to move across the landscape; more important than ever as species’ distributions move northwards in response to climate change. Laid hedges are much denser nesting habitat for birds like song thrushes and Bullfinches. Also, because the hedges are not flailed annually but allowed to grow for many years before they are next laid they produce a lot more flowers in the spring and fruit in the Autumn. That’s why it’s so important to protect the farmed countryside, its wildlife and to value the people with the knowledge and skills to look after it”.
The different styles of hedgelaying which are generally localised to specific parts of the UK have been developed over many years to suit the climate of the area, different farming practices and the type of trees and shrubs that grow in the hedge. Each year the National Championship tests the skills of hedgelayers on at least eight of the main styles in current use.
“It is a great opportunity to come and see some of the best hedgelayers from around the country display their skills in the highest level of competition” says NHLS Trustee and Championship Co-ordinator, Andrew Crow. “Hedgelaying differs around the country in the way that it is done and the National Championship allows you to watch as the various styles are laid. It is a unique opportunity to see all of these regional variations in one place and talk to experts in all of them. Holding the 2018 Championship at Lark Rise Farm, which over the past 25 years has been transformed from an intensively farmed wildlife desert to a productive, wildlife friendly 400-acre arable farm, is an extremely poignant way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our fantastic competition, as well as the CRT’s silver jubilee”.
The reintroduction of hedgerows on to Lark Rise Farm has been an integral part of the CRT’s farm management plan. The landscape is managed using sympathetic farming practices and the creation of hedgerows has divided the farm in to smaller fields which are planted with a mosaic of crops. The farm is teaming with wildlife and is home to many red-listed birds and threatened wildlife.
“As the Tenant of Lark Rise Farm, it is a great privilege to host the National Hedge Laying Championship of 2018” says Tim Scott, “Who would have thought some 20 years ago, when groups of CRT volunteers were planting tiny saplings, whilst struggling with mud up to their knees, that we would now have magnificent hedges suitable for such a prestigious event”.
By Chloe Brown
The muddy puddle at the heart of Lark Rise Farm and its compelling signal for us all to become a generation of ‘soil stewards’.
In August this year the CRT opened the gates to our Flagship Farm, Lark Rise and invited Friends, families, volunteers and anybody wanting to embrace the outdoors to come along and discover the very essence of the British countryside on our wildlife-friendly farm.
Are you a Friend of the CRT? If so, then we would like to invite you to attend a special Friends only Open Day at Pierrepont Farm, Surrey on Sunday 22nd October.
The day will start at 11am and will run until 3pm. Please bring suitable clothing and footwear as Pierrepont is a working farm and the weather is certainly on the turn! If using a satnav, the address for Pierrepont is ‘Pierrepont Farm, The Reeds Road, Frensham, Surrey, GU10 3BP.
If you have booked a place on the coach, it will be departing from Barton Recreation ground at 9am.
Pierrepont Farm was kindly gifted to the Countryside Restoration Trust in 2006 by Jo Baker and we are currently undertaking an extensive programme of restoration to the buildings whilst conserving the meadows, farmland and woodland areas and we would like to share this with you. Come and have a tour of the robotic milking machines in the dairy, listen to various talks about the CRT and Pierrepont Farm, accompany our wildlife experts on some tours of the meadows and then mingle with fellow friends over some refreshments.
Friends will also be invited behind the scenes of the Pierrepont Project and will learn about how we are managing the conversion of a collection of redundant farm buildings to create a mix of food, office studio and craft units. Pierrepont already has an exceptional reputation for supporting craft, food and drink entrepreneurs with Tenant Farmer Mike supplying rawmilk from a robotic dairy and Frensham Brewary reviving local craft beer production with an award winning micro-brewary, which will of course be open and serving beer to thirsty punters!
We will soon be writing to each of our Friends to personally invite them and a guest to attend this special event at one of the jewels in the CRT crown. Friends will be asked to RSVP, so that we can effectively manage the event and ensure everyone is catered for. If you cannot wait to receive your invitation, please register your interest here:
We regret to announce that the Open Farm Sunday event which is due to be held at Pierrepont Farm on 11th June has been postponed.
Unfortunately, one of the farm’s much loved cows has registered a second inconclusive TB test result last week. This is an incredibly stressful time for tenant farmers, Mike and Bev Clear and our thoughts are with them.
As soon as we are able to confirm a revised date for Pierrepont’s open day, we will announce details on the website.
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The CRT would like to invite you behind the scenes at Lark Rise Farm on Friday 4th August as part of National Countryside Week. The Lark Rise Discovery Day will focus very much on encouraging people to engage with the countryside and educating attendees on the importance of Wildlife Friendly farming.
Whether it rains or shines or whether the combine is still harvesting, there are lots of fun activities and demonstrations planned across the farm. Butterfly surveys and activities, build a butterfly biome, conservation activities and guided farm walks around our beautiful meadows. Meet the farmer, wildlife and conservation experts and hone your identification skills, everyone is welcome!
With an afternoon embracing wildlife and getting a taste of conservation on Lark Rise Farm, we’ve got “fast slow food” from Provenance Kitchen, our own BBQ, locally made cider and other refreshments for the kids and the non-cider fans!
Please note – The ground is very uneven in places. Come fair or shine the walks and activities are suitable for children aged 3+ (all children must be accompanied by an adult). The event will be held behind the site for the new HQ at 51 Wimpole Road BARTON, Cambridge. For car parking please follow signs once on Wimpole Road. For SAT NAV use CB23 7AG. For more information on Lark Rise and it’s location please click here.
Please bring binoculars & cameras and share images of the day on the CRT’s Facebook page.
The event will be free of charge and will run from 11am until 6pm.
To register your interest in Lark Rise Discovery Day, please fill in the form below:
Lark Rise Discovery Day will replace the previous Festivals of Farming Food and Wildlife, which were held on Bird’s Farm.
The CRT would like to invite you to visit Turnastone Court Farm on Wednesday 2nd August for Turnastone Discovery Day.
As part of National Countryside Week’s celebration of family farms, join us for a day of guided walks around the beautiful Golden Valley in Herefordshire. Discover the restored sluice and Trench Royal and explore the archaeology of the beautiful 16th century farm whilst enjoying a guided walk around the farms nature rich meadows,by CRT wildlife expert, Viv Geen.
There will be two guided walks which will take approximately two hours and will leave at 11am and 2pm from the main farm. Booking is essential, so please ensure you book your place on either time slot by clicking here.
The event will be free of charge and refreshments will be available.
There is extremely limited parking at Turnastone, so there are only a limited number of spaces available on each walk. Please consider car sharing, cycling or public transport to get to the farm.Book your place here
The CRT would like to invite you to visit Mayfields Farm on Saturday 5th August for Mayfields Discovery Day.
As part of National Countryside Week’s celebration of family farms, join us for a day of conservation and farming activities at Mayfields! Enter your four-legged friend into the dog show, take part in butterfly surveys and activities, talk to our experts about wildlife friendly farming and conservation, meet the farmer and her livestock and walk around the beautiful farm and its meadows. There will be plenty of fun, educational activities for the kids as well, such as taking part in a wildflower seedball workshop, pond dipping and much more.
The event will be free of charge and will run from 11am until 4pm. Refreshments will be available.
To register your interest in Mayfields Discovery Day, please fill in the form below:
Mayfields Discovery Day will replace the previous Festival of Farming Food and Wildlife.
Join us on Saturday 13th May as we open the gates to the beautiful Margaret wood and invite you to experience the wonder of a woodland carpeted with Bluebells.
Walk amongst a sea of blue and experience the woodland coming to life with frogs swimming in the ponds and the sound of Warblers and Song Thrushes in the air.
This Bluebell Day is free of charge and limited refreshments will be available.
Friends of the CRT are invited to attend special guided walks through the woodland. Please register your interest here.
Margaret Wood consists of 32 acres of semi-ancient woodland and pasture on Gunthwaite Lane, Upper Denby, Yorkshire, HD8 8UL
The wood and pasture is a springtime wildlife haven with carpets of bluebells, great spotted woodpeckers amongst the trees and curlews on the meadows.
The Trust support group is running conservation and restoration programmes to manage and enhance the diversity of flora and fauna.