By Charles Bradley - 15th December 2019 6:00am
At a time before the A51 Tarvin by-pass was built, all of the fields were bounded by hawthorn hedges, which were maintained (to a greater or lesser degree) by the farmers whose fields they were. After the completion of the by-pass, the unused land then belonged to the Highways Agency, whose interest in hedge maintenance was vanishingly slight. The hedges, blissfully unaware of this, kept on growing well.
By the time that the care of the land passed to Tarvin Community Woodland Trust, the hawthorns were thriving and had become small trees. Gradually, the two Johns — John Plant and John Sim — have been battling to bring the hedges back to good condition and, over the years, both men have received awards for the quality of the work that they have done to restore hedges that had gone far beyond the point at which they should really have been grubbed out and the job begun from scratch.
One of the very first attempts at laying one of the overgrown hedges was attempted at the woodland boundary with Broomheath Lane. The people who attempted to lay the hedge (who were not the two Johns!) were either less skilful or less fortunate than the two Johns proved to be when they took on the job later — because, following the laying, all of the hawthorn trees died. The now-open boundary subsequently had one of our post-and-rail fences erected and thereafter Tarvin Scouts came to help by planting hawthorn whips along the fence line.
That was many years ago — but the hawthorns have been growing quietly until, this autumn, they had reached a size where they were judged to be ready for laying. Enter once again the two Johns. If you have the chance to walk along Broomheath Lane towards the A51, have a look at the hedge on the right-hand side. The way it has been layed is a piece of work which is beautiful, both in the quality of its execution and in the impression it creates. The workmanship which has gone into it is truly masterly. It is a living testament to the skill and expertise of John Plant and John Sim.
Cheshire Landscape Trust (which was the body who awarded both gentlemen for the quality of their workmanship) is, sadly, now defunct and so is unable to acknowledge the superb achievement of our two craftsmen. What a pity that is. Perhaps some other group or organisation might consider recognising the contribution that, quietly and modestly, these two gentlemen made- and are continuing to make — to the life and to the appearance of our village?
To the two Johns, John Plant and John Sim, this is a very sincere expression of gratitude, on behalf of both the Trust and the village, for everything that you have done to control, to restore and to care for the hedges in our woodland over the first two decades of the twenty-first Century. Gentlemen, thank you both.
- Barrie/Penny Rees
An excellent job and a pleasure to see on our daily walk.