Fences

I made it to Wales, the homeland of my much loved father. It was even more beautiful than I ever dreamed it would be. And every person I met, most of them family, had a very special quiet kindness that drew me to them. They wore it like a halo. 

I have to tell this little story. When our children were young we took them to the zoo showed them the huge animal with a tail in the back and one in the front (aka the elephant), giraffes, hippos, and many other exotic animals. There was also a small area with domestic animals: goats, chickens, and the like which we also had at home. We thought they would be so impressed with the grand and unusual when what they really loved was humble and familiar. 

The point of mentioning that is that although I’ve seen many grand buildings on this trip, here I am most fascinated by  the humble fences in Wales.   I stopped to take a picture of a couple of Welsh ponies on the other side of one of the many hedges in Wales. Very few fences as I know them but endless hedges. 
  
This was a hedge surrounding the Llanwnog cemetery. Not sure if you can tell but this one has been worked on so as to make it an extremely good fence. It’s a process called pletching or hedging. 

  
Not sure if you can see but Branches are cut close to the ground about two thirds through, tipped over, and laid back into the hedge. Upright stakes are woven in

 
This is a different hedge that shows that structure better. Then what happens is shoots grow upright out of the laid over branches to eventually make a very thick and secure hedge fence. 

As I had it explained to me the branches are laid over in the same direction as the wind blows. If not the wind might tug it open. Or if it’s by the brook or river one would fletch the branches the same direction as the water flow so that if there happened to be a flood that reached the fence it wouldn’t be torn open by the rushing water. 

 I loved it. A well pledged and staked hedge is a wonder of skill and ingenuity. A process of working with nature as a partner which is something I understand. 
How much better, cheaper, more ‘environmental’ is a pletch ex hedge than one where trees are chopped down, cut up into posts, transported to the site,  pounded into the ground (don’t even get me started on the environmental expense of the making of a post pounder) and strands of flesh tearing barb wire made of metal (that had be mined, refined, and produced, transported) nailed with metal staples (more mining, refining, producing. 

I can hear someone y pletching would be too much work. I have personally done enough fencing to know, everything considered, any fencing is a lot of work.

I’m wondering if it might more a case of no patience, no pride, no skill, no counting the real cost. 

This daughter of a Welhman takes her hat off in reverence to all those humble, hard working farmers and their hedge fences who were ‘environmental’ long before it was even a word and who have understood, for generations, how to work hand in hand with Mother Nature who I love. 

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4 responses to “Fences

  1. Amazing work…we could use a little of that pride, patience and skill here in the states.

  2. Beautiful fencing. So glad you made it to Wales. God bless.

  3. JoAnn Marshall

    and I worry about weeds around my fencing. I will let it grow proudly from now on. Who knows, God willing some will become hedges one day!
    My grandma was from Wales. I enjoyed the pictures as always.
    God Bless you on your journey!

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