Words from the Hedge: A Hedgelayer’s View of the Countryside

By Richard Negus£30.00 + Shipping
Status: being funded
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About The Book

Words from the Hedge is a unique book: a passionate evocation of the history, beauty, and importance of our hedgerows by a craftsman with over twenty years’ experience – and the scars to prove it.

Hedges are as old as civilisation, as emblematic of the British countryside as chalk streams,  hay meadows or oak trees and with as  many regional variations as there are styles of traditional building. But whereas woods are protected and cherished as ‘the lungs of the land’, farmland hedges are too often taken for granted. 

Not any more. In Words From The Hedge, the professional hedgelayer and coppicer Richard Negus takes us deep inside in this ancient world. He shows how these ribbons of thorn and barb are more than mere decoration or boundary markers: they are the countryside’s vital arteries, sustaining an astonishing diversity of plant and animal species, linking farms and villages, wildlife and people together. No hedge is ‘wild’, he reminds us; they are the product of human effort and skill - often over many generations - and require hands-on human intervention to thrive.

Richard Negus wields his pen with as much dexterity as he does his billhook and chainsaw. Along with detailed descriptions of his work, he gives memorable portraits of the birds, animals, plants and insects that are his daily companions. Robins, linnets, wrens, turtle doves, hedgehogs, shrews, voles, deer, foxes, beetles, aphids, mites – all have a part to play in the inner life of the hedge. And through his work, Richard uncovers a lively band of fellow countrymen and women, who deal with the practical complexities of modern farming and land ownership, and the challenges faced by conservation and countryside stewardship.

Written with warmth and vigour, Words From The Hedge makes a powerful case for why ancient rural skills and knowledge are so vital.  It’s a book for anyone interested in the British countryside and its future.

With a foreword by John Lewis-Stempel, author of The Running Hare  and two-times winner of the Wainwright Prize.

Richard Negus shows us the wondrous life of the hedge, but above all how hedges, and the philosophy of human-nature partnership they embody, can mend the countryside. Hedges are the way ahead. And in Richard Negus they have their one true champion.
John Lewis-Stempel

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