Expert hedgelayer to reveal tricks of the trade

OPOF hedgelaying 2016

Published Friday 10 February 2017

A rare opportunity to learn the secrets of a traditional New Forest skill is on offer next Thursday (16 February).

People of all ages are invited to a special demonstration by local hedgelaying expert Andrew Birnie as he finishes laying a hedge in Godshill in the New Forest.

Organised by the New Forest Land Advice Service and the New Forest National Park Authority, the event is part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme, which is led by the National Park Authority and 10 key partners.

The free event is part of the Rural Skills strand of Our Past, Our Future, which seeks to teach forgotten traditional skills to a new generation. The open day will take place between 10am and 3pm, with parking available at the Fighting Cocks Pub and no booking needed.

Attendees will be able to watch Andrew at work, listen to his hourly presentations and ask questions about why it is important to manage hedges in this traditional way.

The event will continue the work started by participants on a recent hedgelaying training course run by the Land Advice Service.

Event organiser and New Forest National Park Authority Interpretation Officer Gareth Owen, said: 'This is an opportunity to safely see traditional rural skills being used to manage land sensitively and see the work being undertaken by the Our Past, Our Future scheme to help protect and restore the Forest.’

Julie Melin-Stubbs, New Forest Land Advice Service Manager, said: ‘Hedgerows are critical to many plants and animals and facilitate the movement of them through the landscape. They are a hugely important part of the British landscape, but unfortunately many are not in favourable condition and need to be managed more appropriately. We advise many landowners on this in the New Forest and I hope this open day will help even more people understand how traditional hedgelaying benefits nature.’

The hedge is on a public right of way and is only accessible on foot. The event will be signposted from the pub’s car park and although the path to access the event is flat, it is not suitable for large buggies or wheelchairs. It can also become extremely muddy; therefore the event is weather dependant.

If you would like to know more about the event, please contact Gareth Owen on 01590 646652 or by emailing


Notes to Photo Editor:

Andrew Birnie lays a hedge near Linwood in the New Forest.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @HLFSouthEast

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media contact

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant

Tel: 01590 646639


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