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Hedge Fuel for All (July 2014 to December 2015)
This project aimed to assist local communities to work with nearby farmers to manage hedges sustainably to produce firewood. The communities get free firewood in exchange for their labour, as well as healthy exercise and a chance to meet like-minded people, while the farmer gets their hedge layed or coppiced. Better still, hedge firewood is a renewable energy source.
Our thanks to the Big Lottery for funding, through Awards for All.
Our main objective was to help establish five community woodfuel from hedges groups, where farmers and people from local settlements can meet each other and discuss working together, while the latter group receive training in hedge laying and harvesting, legal structures, insurance and health and safety.
If you are interested in the idea of a local community woodfuel group involving hedges, please email us at [email protected].
Year of the Devon Hedge 2014
To celebrate the 20th year of Devon Hedge Group, we declared 2014 to be the Year of the Devon Hedge.
Our aim was to celebrate Devon’s amazing hedges, the best in Europe and perhaps the world. The dense green network of hedges that covers the county is an ancient one – most of our hedges are over 600 years old – and defines a cultural landscape that is the envy of other northern European nations. Couple this with high biodiversity, multiple ecosystem service delivery, and great potential as a source of cost effective renewable energy, and we have an asset which is truly remarkable: worthy of all we can do to protect and conserve it for the future.
We arranged or co-ordinated over 30 events across the county, covering a wide range of subjects, including a hedge exploration walk, looking for cirl buntings, taking part in the South Brent Wood Fair, a walk searching for culinary and medicinal plants in hedges, hedge laying courses, a workshop on sustainable hedge management with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), and a guided walk to see the ancient hedges and hill fort at Denbury.
We published six hedge-related articles in the Western Morning News including pieces on bats, dormice and the berry harvest.
Green Veins and Lanes project 2010-2012
In May 2010, the Devon Hedge Group launched a major project called Green Veins and Lanes – New Life for Devon’s Hedges which ran until December 2012.
The overall aim of the project was to increase public understanding and appreciation of Devon’s rich hedgerow heritage, and to promote active participation in the management and conservation of hedges.
The project was grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund , Devon County Council, and by both the Blackdowns and the North Devon AONB Sustainable Development Funds. Support was also provided by Beaford Arts.
Thanks to the superb efforts of our volunteers and many others, the project was a great success.
The project covered 12 key activities:
- An oral history, including two highlight videos.
- Two stories written and told to camera, The Westcountry Rambler & The Higglety-Piglety Hedge.
- An education resource, ten lines of enquiry , for teachers and students. We commissioned a teacher, Penny O’Connor, to introduce these to three schools, Okehampton, Chagford and Broadclyst.
- A photographic competition.
- An art competition for children.
- A touring exhibition of 36 images from the art and photo competitions and archive.
- Publishing a set of 12 postcards using these images.
- Designing three hedge trails, the first for the county, and producing leaflets for them.
- A hedge laying video, Devon style
- Skills training events, including 6 run by Dartmoor Circle helping landowners and local communities to manage hedges for woodfuel.
This presentation summarises the main achievements, or download a full report and evaluation of the project.
Art and photo competitions 2011
As part of the Green Veins and Lane project, we held an art competition for children. There were two classes; aged 11 and under, and over 11. 64 school classes and individuals took part: the winning entries can be seen here.
Many thanks to lead volunteer Collette Rayment for running this competition, with valuable support from John Whetman.
The same year we held a photographic competition, also as part of the Green Veins and Lanes project. There were two classes: senior and junior. 102 photos were entered, and the winning entries can be seen here .
Our thanks to volunteer Peter Preston for leading on this, again supported by John Whetman.
Prints and artwork from the archive and photo and art competitions, together with 12 James Ravilious images from the Beaford Arts archive, were combined to form a touring exhibition.
Originally we had planned to hold the exhibition at just four venues for a week each, but the high quality of the contents and early encouraging feedback led us to put it on display at 11 different locations spread across the county, two of them twice, including major city libraries. The exhibition ran nearly continuously between August 2011 and November 2012. Our thanks to volunteer Sue Wheeler for organising the exhibition and making it such a success.
We used images from the exhibition to produce a set of postcards, to promote hedges and their value to society. Our thanks to volunteer Peter Preston for arranging this.