With the Chilterns Tourism Net­work

MARY TEBJE of

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - WHAT’S ON THIS WEEKEND -

WHY not start the Chilterns New Year by de­vel­op­ing a new skill?

The tra­di­tional art of hedge-lay­ing was once common across the English coun­try­side and many Chilterns hedges still show ev­i­dence of pre­vi­ous lay­ing. Orig­i­nally hedges were laid to cre­ate an im­pen­e­tra­ble bar­rier to keep stock in fields and the skill of lay­ing a hedge was once common prac­tice.

How­ever, with mod­ern fenc­ing and me­chan­i­cal hedge trim­ming, this tra­di­tional form of hedge man­age­ment is now a much rarer skill.

There are many styles of hedge-lay­ing through­out the UK. On this course, which will take place at Bos­more Farm, near Faw­ley Bot­tom, Hen­ley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 6JJ - you will be taught the South of Eng­land style.

Nigel Adams, a lo­cal ex­pert hedge-layer with over 30 years ex­pe­ri­ence, will be lead­ing a two-day course on Jan­uary 17 and 18 dur­ing which you will learn to: Clear/pre­pare the hedge Cut and lay the pleach­ers Fix the stakes and binders Cor­rectly use and main­tain hedge-lay­ing tools and un­der­stand the ben­e­fits of hedge­lay­ing for wildlife and landown­ers.

For more, see www.chiltern­saonb.org/ cal­en­dar/27/1110-Hedge-lay­ing-course­be­gin­ners.html#sthash.PX0sOBzT.dpuf.

The Chilterns have an abun­dance of ac­tiv­i­ties and ad­ven­tures that re­quire noth­ing more than a good pair of shoes and keen nose for the trail ahead. A per­sonal favourite are the woods at Wen­dover - named after the nearby mar­ket town. If you have young chil­dren, the ad­ven­ture play­ground is per­fect and within easy reach of the Cafe in the Woods (which was built by the lo­cal com­mu­nity).

There are lots of bike and hik­ing trails to ex­plore or, if you pre­fer, you can take your box of paints and set up to cap­ture the lovely views.

The woods at­tract many species of birds, some of which are sea­sonal vis­i­tors, rare in South­ern Eng­land, in­clud­ing the cross­bill and the firecrest. You are bound to spot a red kite and glider as they ride the ther­mals cre­ated over the ridge­way.

See if you can find the stone mon­u­ment mark­ing the high­est point of the Chilterns which lies within the woods on Hadding­ton Hill.

Please share your top picks for lo­cal places to eat in and ex­pe­ri­ences to en­joy all year round. You will find us on twit­ter @ Vis­itChilterns, Pin­ter­est pin­ter­est.com/ vis­itchilterns and In­sta­gram in­sta­gram.com/ thechilterns and if you use the #Chilterns hash­tag we’ll share the best of your con­tri­bu­tions.

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