Come and learn the ancient craft of woven hazel hurdle fencing in the Brighthelm Centre garden on Thursday 27th July! It’s free – you get to learn a new skill, with the satisfaction of using your hands to make something beautiful and functional, and Brighthelm gets some new fencing. The workshop starts at 9.30, and you can come for the day or just part of it.
Brighthelm has been developing its pre-school garden, extending it to include an area with a woodland feel, so that the children can learn an appreciation of nature through forest-school-type activities. This area, under a great Elm tree, might be a good meeting place for Open Sky sometimes – a woodland clearing, right in the middle of Brighton. The hazel fencing will help divide up the different areas in the garden.
This is what hazel hurdling looks like. Brighthelm’s will be lower and shorter
Hazel is a very useful tree. It grows quickly, and is easily coppiced. Coppicing hazel is great for wildlife. Enough light gets through for wild-flowers, with resulting benefits to birds and insects. The stands give good shelter for ground-nesting birds, like nightjars, yellowhammers and nightingales. The nuts provide food for animals like dormice and wood mice, as well as birds and humans (think praline and ice-cream sundaes). The leaves are food for caterpillars, which in turn are food for birds and mammals. The young stems are very flexible, and hazel is generally a good craft timber: used in thatching, furniture, as stakes in the garden, as well as camp-craft. In herb-lore, hazel is used for water-divining sticks and to ward off evil, with the nuts being worn as charms against rheumatism. In Irish folk-lore, hazel has been known as the Tree of Knowledge. In the part of Stanmer woods where we’ve been meeting for Open Sky Forest Church, there’s not a lot of hazel, but we do pass some along the path from the car park.
If you’d like to take part in the hurdle-making workshop, it would be helpful for Brighthelm to know to expect you. This will also mean they can contact you in case of cancellation. You can use the contact form below and we’ll pass your name on, or phone Brighthelm reception on 01273 821512