RSPB Marshside’s regular volunteers had a helping hand on Sunday from a team of enthusiasts from the Wirral Countryside Volunteers. The WCV brought along some experienced hedge-layers to lay a section of hawthorn hedge alongside Marshside Road which crosses the Nature Reserve. The hedgerow, which was planted by RSPB staff some fifteen years ago has now reached the ideal size for laying.
Hedge-laying is a traditional method of prolonging the life of a hedge and creating a cow-proof barrier. It also creates a fantastic wildlife habitat at the same time. The new vertical growth of stems that arises in the spring to cross the laid horizontal branches provides a wonderful nesting and feeding area for smaller birds and animals that are then protected from predators by a thorny screen. The shrubs will also flower and fruit more vigorously (incidentally, this technique will also work well in your garden too!).
The training received on Sunday will mean that RSPB Marshside staff and volunteers can continue this management technique on other suitable hedgerows around the reserve in years to come.
Remember, if you are planning any hedge–cutting at home, you only have a couple more weeks left to do it before the birds start nesting again!