Hedging your bets on a hedge

 

Whilst reading the National Trust vacancy for a rural enterprise director, it
triggered memories of the incident when we at the Tyntesfield cut down several
hundred meters of a neighbour’s hedge. This sort of mistake can be made by
anyone I hear you cry, but at Tyntesfield, this sort of mistake was just the run
of the mill balls up that went on daily. This is how it started.

 

Whilst the warden – since made unemployed – was overrun with trying to open
up the estate for visitors, juggling HLF work and performing a hundred and one
other tasks, one of these jobs was to manage hedgerows that was all part and
parcel of the country side stewardship. Sorry I didn’t mention the stewardship
did I? Just another little side line to his task sheet.

 

The request for boundary information was returned from head office,
highlighting all the fences, hedges etc. Now we had the information action,
camera, lights.

 

As I had been teaching hedgelaying to a group of inner city youths and the
links were forged, who better to involve in the project. This is what
Tyntesfield was all about, inclusion. and so this is what happened.

 

The group from the inner city spent several days coppicing the hedge to
ground level. Coppicing is a method of rejuvenating a very old hedge and all the
gaps were planted up with new hedging plants.

 

The group from the CSV worked like Trojans and the task was nearly completed.
That’s when the owner of the hedge turned up and not with a smile on her
face.

 

The poor old warden took all the flax that she was dishing out and doing his
best to explain against a barrage of abuse, he started to realise we might not
have been the squeaky clean ones.

 

WE only planned to put up a temporary fence to contain her cattle, but as the
truth emerged, I could see this was going to be an expensive error.

 

When the National Trust land agent at head office admitted the mistake, the
village was awash with the news of another horrendous act by the Trust. What
next? Was the cry in the village club. Making water run up hill was a remark by
another that worked for the water board. If only he knew how those words would
run true.

 

So the neighbour got a brand new stock proof fence, a nice new hedge and a
story that she will repeat till her cows come home. All this at the paying
public expense.

 

So looking back at the job of the Rural Enterprise Director vacancy,
advertised at £75,000 per annum with ‘exceptional benefits’, seems an awful lot
of money when the Trust has none. And why would they need another chair filled
at head office when they seem to be doing so well?