Devon boasts 33,000 miles of hedges and many are very old. The have huge ecological, historical and cultural value but many have been lost due to the mechanisation of agriculture. This course aims to introduce students the true value of hedges, how they can be cared for using traditional techniques, and how useful they can be as provider of food, fodder, fibre and fuel.
Working with one hedge over the course of the year, we will meet once a month to learn skills such hedge laying, bank maintenance using turf and stone, the manufacture of biochar and charcoal, and how to utilise the myriad resources the hedge has to offer. We will make chairs, baskets and spoons from the hedge and forage for wild food. We will also look at the hedge through the eyes of the ecologist and botanist and appreciate its incredible diversity.
The course is led by Jeremy Weiss and Sasha Georgiades of Proper Edges with the help of a range of experienced local tutors.
Kate Lynch makes paintings and drawings of Somerset farming and rural work and collects stories from people she features. Her latest exhibition opens on March 26 and her new book CRAFT – SOMERSET PORTRAITS AND VOICES is published on the same day. There are 30 craftspeople celebrated – some practising familiar country skills and others keeping alive crafts which are very rare. There are hedgelayers, a dry stone waller, thatchers, a brushmaker, a cidermaker still pressing apples through straw, basketmakers, blacksmiths, farriers and a horse collar and harnessmaker. Kate also visited a hand-made paper mill powered by a waterwheel, a glass blower, a wood whittler, the only sieve and riddle maker in the country, a company weaving horsehair, a bell ropemaker and others. In the book there are all the paintings and drawings and extracts from interviews with the craftspeople featured, who talk about their training, their practice, their tools and their passion for their craft. There will be a short film of some of the craftspeople in the exhibition.
“I have been out with 30 craftspeople and it has been heartening to witness the rich seam of age-old craftsmanship alive in Somerset.
CRAFT – SOMERSET PORTRAITS AND VOICES RURAL LIFE MUSEUM, GLASTONBURY 26 March to 5 June 2022. There is a pre-publication offer of FREE POSTAGE if books are ordered on Kate’s website before publication date on March 26th. http://www.katelynch.co.uk For an invitation to the opening of the exhibition contact Kate.
The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) awards scholarship and apprenticeship funding of up to £18,000 to talented and aspiring craftspeople working in a broad range of skills, from farriery and jewellery design, to silversmithing, dry stone walling, glassblowing cheese maturing, sculpture and more. Our next application round is open 10 January – 14 February 2022 and we are looking for more talented applicants – would you be able to help us spread the word to your members, followers and network?
QEST celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded over £5million to 650 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. We define craft broadly and welcome applications from all areas including rural skills, contemporary craft, conservation, luthiery and much more. A directory of all our alumni can be seen on our website, along with more details on how to apply – www.qest.org.uk (We have two application rounds each year – in January and July).
We will be holding three ‘How To Apply’ sessions on zoom to give advice and tips on the application process:
The website has just been updated with the latest courses running up until May 2022. They include hedge laying, dry stone walling, tool sharpening and cleft gate hurdle making. You can book a place here:
Due to a couple of cancellations, a couple of places have become available on our Turf Hedging Course on Saturday!
We tend to only run this course once every couple of years or so, therefore it’s a golden oppertunity to learn this interesting and useful skill.
Saturday 20th November 2021
Culvertor Farm, Farthing Lane, Marldon, TQ3 1RR
Grid Reference: 861628
Instructor: Chris Stanton
Many of Devon’s hedgebanks are not faced with stone (see stone facing course). Instead they are made entirely of soil. When the bank begins to erode or collapse, it can be repaired using blocks of turf cut from the field. The blocks are placed like stonework with the grass face outermost. You’ll need a Devon shovel and a decent mattock.
Bookings are coming in thick and fast since our publicity guru, Chris Baker appeared on BBC Radio Devon last friday. The dry stone walling course is completely booked up with three on the reserves list and the hedge laying courses are selling like hot cakes so book now if you want one: https://www.drst.org.uk/pg/Diary.aspx
There are still plenty of spaces on the turf hedging course. This is an essential skill for hedgelayers, enabling them to repair small sections of hedge bank simply using a mattock and a shovel. You can book a place on that course here: https://www.drst.org.uk/pg/course/coursedet.aspx?id=111
One rural skill that is not taught by DRST is the art of mowing with the scythe. Jeremy Weiss has been running courses on this all through the summer and on thursday 23rd of September he’s running a scythe workshop for improvers. You can find details here: https://properedges.com/courses/