New start after 60: I took up hedgelaying at 65


Nice story about a late-life green career switch:

Last November, when David Booker picked up a billhook for the first time, it felt uncannily familiar. The tool, a sort of stubby sickle, fitted so comfortably in his hand that he thought his handling of it “was there in me, ready and waiting to come out”. Now the tool has helped him to find a new sort of living – and unearthed a hidden connection with his father.

Booker was 65 when he enrolled on a short course in hedgelaying, or “pleaching” – the ancient rural art of cutting and training hedges into secure boundaries. He now lives in the Clun valley in Shropshire, where he pleaches the hedges of neighbouring farmers and friends. Each is a fresh conundrum.

On “the aesthetic level”, Booker says, he sees a well-laid hedge as a form of cubism. But there are also environmental benefits. Pleaching strengthens hedges as nature corridors and carbon-capturers. It also improves soil structure, “whereas if you’re flailing a hedge – cutting with a massive chainsaw on the back of a tractor – you’re destroying it”. Read the full article on The Guardian.

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