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Traditional skills helping to give green a makeover

PUBLISHED: 10:34 04 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:34 04 October 2015

Lee Bassett and (R) Keith Leedell working on the traditional hedge at Watlington. Picture: Ian Burt

Lee Bassett and (R) Keith Leedell working on the traditional hedge at Watlington. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

Traditional skills are still being practised in west Norfolk with work on cutting back an overgrown hedge near completion.

Lee Bassett and (L) Keith Leedell working on the traditional hedge at Watlington. Picture: Ian BurtLee Bassett and (L) Keith Leedell working on the traditional hedge at Watlington. Picture: Ian Burt

Lee Bassett learned his trade at Norfolk’s Gressenhall Farm and Museum and is now applying the knowledge he acquired to peg back a hedge at Angel Field Millennium Green, in Watlington, near Downham Market.

A trust was set up before the turn of the century to turn an empty space of land opposite the Angel pub into a millennium green, which is an open space that promotes nature and outdoor leisure.

While work on the project finished in 2001, the trust has received a grant of £2,500 from WREN, which awards cash to community groups, to give the green a makeover.

Keith Leedell, from the trust, said: “The hedge was planted with mainly hawthorn in 2000. This traditional craft hedging technique has been used to keep livestock in, as it creates a thick, bushy head.

“The hedge got a bit out of hand, and has to be cut back in stages. You have to cut through to the stem, and use hazelwood stakes as support. You then weave the top with willow to give it extra strength.

“When it’s done, you will be able to see across the green from the road, because the hedge, previously 8-10ft high, will have been reduced to about 3ft.” The craft hedging work costs about £1,200 and the remainder of the cash from WREN was used to remove willows from the pond at the green and remodel the turf amphitheatre.

How are you keeping country crafts alive in Norfolk? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk



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