Friends of Horsenden Hill : Hedgelaying sessions 15th January and 5th, 6th February 2022

Join the Horsenden Hedgeslayers for a day of laying the hedgerows of Horsenden farm and hill. All volunteers welcome, no previous hedgelaying experience necessary.

A bit of background

Horsenden in the borough of Ealing is a large nature reserve and small working farm, looked after by volunteers. The area was farm land for many hundreds of years until the last century, with the meadows and (now overgrown) hedgerows still there from their agricultural past. There is also wetland and ancient woodland, and thanks to Ealing rangers’ sympathetic management of the land, the fields and meadows are woodlands are increasing their biodiversity, with species such as field mice being reintroduced, and owls and other birds of prey encouraged into the area.

Laying the hedgerows is an important part of the management of the area, as hedges are such an important habitat and source of food and protection for many species, and are in their own right a biome with a huge diversity of plant and animal species. As well as the environmental aspect, we want to practice and preserving the traditional craft so that the knowledge of how to care for hedgerows can continue.

What will we do?

We’ll be laying the hedges close to and around Horsenden farm, and on Horsenden Lane North. They are mostly hawthorn hedges, with a few other species mixed in. Most of our volunteers were taught hedgelaying by Clive Leake in the South of England style, and as much as possible we’d like to continue in that tradition, however we’re very happy to do other styles as appropriate.

We’ll get most of our hazel binders and stakes from local hazel that’s being brought into coppicing rotation. If you fancy lending a hand coppicing and cutting the hazel, let us know!


Meet at Horsenden Farm courtyard (at the top where the farm buildings are) for 10am. BYO equipment if you’d like to, but there’ll be billhooks, loppers, axes, saws and slashers etc available to borrow. Dress appropriately for the weather. Hot drinks and snacks are freely available at the hayloft, but unless we let you know otherwise, bring your own lunch. The time of the session is 10-4, but it’s fine to do whatever time suits you (but if you’re planning to arrive later, let us know so you’ll know where to meet us if it’s not on the farm itself).

  • Saturday, 15th January 2022, Hedgelaying Session
  • Saturday, 5th February 2022, Hedgelaying Course*
  • Sunday, 6th February 2022, Hedgelaying Session
  • Wednesday, 16th February 2022, Hedgelaying Session
  • Saturday, 26th February 2022, Hedgelaying Session

More details of the events, and the full programme is available here.

*Saturday 5th February is a Hedgelaying course with Clive Leake and costs £45. Other events are free.

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