First it was cold, then it was wet, then it was cold and wet. Twenty years ago I’d have rolled my eyes at this version of myself, the version who endlessly talks about the weather. My qualifications for weather scrutiny are first and foremost that I’m British – it’s genetic isn’t it? Second to that is that I live on a farm, and third that I run a glamping business. All of these things conspire to make me possibly the last person on everyone’s dinner party invite list – unless of course you want to hear my latest musings on the best welly boots to withstand UK winters on waterlogged clay soil – No? Thought not!
Joking aside, the weather really does impact on our days. Animal feeding and watering takes an age. In the cold weather it means long walks with buckets of water because hoses are frozen, in wet weather it’s a resistance workout traipsing through mud thicker than treacle while carrying bales of hay. Dog walks have to factor in time to wash their feet and towel dry them on every return to the house. By the time the morning routine has been finished it feels like it’s almost time to begin the afternoon routine before it gets dark.
We’ve continued the conservation of our hedgerows this January – another stretch of hedge around the field known as the bankside has been traditionally laid in the South of England style. Our expert hedgelayers – Bill Daniels and Simon Everitt have spent the last few weeks working on a 350 metre stretch. This is the second lay of this particular hedge and it has been a considerable gap since we last did it so the new hedge is going to be really thick which is brilliant. Watching the process is fascinating and the finished hedge looks amazing – in a few months it will be bursting with life. Why do we do this? Well the laying creates a living fence – a habitat for many small mammals, birds and insects, as well as creating corridors for mammals to travel from place to place with the cover affording them protection from prey and a ready source of food.
The hedgerow work we’re doing this year has been done with the support of Sussex Lund, a foundation that enables small scale practical projects that improve the landscape of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the “Farming in Protected Landscapes’ fund
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