What’s happening?


There are no strangers here just friends we haven’t met yet! So welcome friends both old and new to our first newsletter of 2020. We aim to bring you updates from time to time, share our blog posts and provide you with the opportunity to also share your feedback so we can continue to improve the services and experiences we offer to you, your friends and family.

What’s Paul been up to?

As many of you may already be aware Paul (aka the woodsman!) has been delivering our Coppicing, Hedgelaying & Wattle Hurdle Making Courses since 2018 and these courses continue to grow in popularity. The courses have previously taken place at New Pond Farm, Reigate between October and February each year. This year we have moved the coppicing to Norbury Park, Fetcham because there is quality Hazel in abundance here and the ground is not so saturated from all the rain we had earlier this month. We have also introduced hot food (breakfast and lunch) in the woods for our trainees, which as you can imagine a hot meal on a cold winters day is very welcomed and also reduces the risk of Paul returning home ‘hangry’!

Due to popularity, we have now added another date for our Hedgelaying & Coppicing Course, this will be held on the weekend of 7th and 8th March:


BOOK HERE: Hedgelaying & Coppicing Course

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If you have tried Hedgelaying and would like to have a go at making a Wattle Hurdle Panel using traditional techniques we have one more course running this winter, it will be held at Norbury Park, Fetcham on 1st and 2nd of  February – do sign up quickly as we only have 2 places remaining!

BOOK HERE: Wattle Hurdle & Coppicing Course

Please note that our ratio of trainer to the trainee is usually 1 to 7. However, we can facilitate larger private groups and will bring in another qualified tutor when needed.

One-to-one training!

We are finding that more of you are keen to have one to one training with Paul, particularly those who wish to up-skill really quickly and put what they have learned into immediate practice. We will always consider requests, for example, one of our customers requested a one-to-one Coppicing and Hazel Arch course with Paul next month. The coppicing will take place at Norbury Park, Fetcham and the Hazel Arch will be made in situ in the customers garden in Reigate so it can be immediately erected into place.

Commercial work!

For the first time, this winter we filled our commercial hedgelaying calendar before the coppicing season commenced in October! This just shows that attending country fairs over the past two years and engaging face to face with our prospective customers really makes a difference, not to mention how helpful the great reviews and referrals our customers have provided have been for us too! If you are an existing customer and wish to provide a facebook or a Google review for our business then you will find us @hedgesandhurdles or you can just send me (Lorraine) a quick email with some text for inclusion on our website: Lorraine@hedgesandhurdles.com

What’s Lorraine been up to?

It’s nearly a year since I held my first workshop at the Priory Farm Estate, South Nutfield. In the first workshop we made rustic Obelisk using either Hazel I coppiced myself or with Willow that I harvested on-site with the help on occasions by volunteers! I took these workshops a step further and combined them with a Mini-Wattle Hazel Hurdle workshop that I ran with Paul in the summer at the beautiful location of Sussex Prairies, near Henfield. I highly recommend a visit to the Sussex Prairie garden and tea rooms owned and run by the lovely Pauline and Paul.

My workshops have developed considerably over the past year as I introduced you to Willow Dragonflies, flowers, hearts and more. I have been learning new Willow weaving and Wood Craft skills to continue to bring you a range of exciting new experiences to choose from in the coming months. In January I have already held a Willow Bird Feeder workshop with more planned.

Next Tuesday I will hold my first Willow Cloche workshop! Can I share a secret, this next workshop was supposed to be in March but I added the wrong date to the facebook event page and as I received immediate bookings decided it would still go ahead. So sorry for the late notice but there are still places available if you would like to join me, it would be good to have a full house (barn), I will take a heater so we can go inside if it really is too cold out there too!


If you fancy learning a new skill this year and enjoy being in the outdoors we currently have 33 workshop experiences published for the year ahead and still more to add, do take a look to see if there is one that interests you:



I would like to thank those of you who volunteered to help me in harvesting Willow at Priory Farm Estate. I must admit the coppicing undertaken this month was much easier than that undertaken in November. I was also delighted to be joined by Anthony (Ant), one of the people who originally planted the Willow when he worked at Priory Farm many years ago. The Willow is now less brittle and of course, all of the leaves have fallen off so no double handling needed. Without these volunteers, I think my back would have broken by now but with the help of these new friends, it has made this work so much easier but most of all, it has created the opportunity to bring people together from the local community and further afield to share in this mindful, relaxing experience!

Our next group of volunteers join us at the Priory Farm Estate on Thursday 30th January, register here if you would like to join us.


If you are familiar with Reigate Heath then you will have heard of The Skimmington Castle, a great little pub near to the golf course. You may not yet be familiar with Grow at the Skim a “small, independent plant nursery and garden boutique set in under 0.1 acres in the grounds of the Skimmington Castle pub on Reigate Heath. Every effort is being made to ensure that Grow at the Skim fits in as a beautiful part of this stunning natural landscape and our tranquil community.”


This little boutique popped up just before Christmas and I was invited to display my Willow Crafts for sale and also took commissions for my rustic door wreaths and large Hazel and Willow chandeliers. Apparently, I was the top seller, which was great news to hear for such a new collaboration.

This month I have been busy making Bird Feeders of varying sizes to display at Grow At The Skim and look forward to filling the decking with Willow Obelisk and other Wood Craft creations I have in mind! In addition, I will be running some workshops here, the first one will be to make Willow Bird Feeders!

What next may you ask?

Watch this space! I mentioned in a previous newsletter that I have joined forces with Ruth Wheeler an experienced wood sculptor and artist. This year we will be launching our Weekender Workshops at the “Birtley Woodland Art Space” located within the woodlands within the stunning Birtley Estate in Bramley Guildford. We will be offering various workshops for you to choose including Willow Art, Wood Art, Pyrography, Whittling and Spoon Carving. As with all things good, it takes time to develop our offering but we hope to have booking details for you very soon. I can announce that our first workshop will be held on 14th and 15th March so do drop me a line if you would like to be added to our waitlist!

Hen In The Woods

The Birtley Woodland Art Space is also a fantastic new location for our “Hen In The Woods experience.

“Planning a Shabby Chic or Rustic themed Wedding? Bring your friends and family together to design and make your own bespoke accessories whilst participating in a fun-filled outdoor ‘experience’ set within the beautiful surroundings of Surrey Hills.”

As well as offering you a full range of arts and craft activities to choose from we can also include woodland walks, picnics alongside the picturesque lakes and create a bespoke one or two day Hen Party event for you all to enjoy. Camping may also be a possibility (depending on dates).


Newsletter sign up

We usually only send this newsletter via our mailing list but thought we would add it to a blog post on this occasion given the nature of our ramblings as hopefully, they will be of interest and relevance to you all! If you would like to register your email address to receive our newsletter and any other special offers we may have from time to time you can do so via our facebook page here:






If you pick up a copy of January 2020 Surrey Life magazine you will see Paul and our business featured prominently in an article written by author #ClaireSaul. The article focuses on the Heritage Crafts Association’s “Red List’, of endangered crafts such as Wattle Hurdle Making. We have made this craft viable in our business by offering popular training courses between October and March, passing on the skill to others. I (Lorraine) will also deliver courses to make mini-wattle hurdles this year used for garden border edging, I replace Hazel predominantly used by Paul with Willow that I harvest locally.

If you would like to join our next Wattle Hurdle Making & Coppicing Training Course on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February you will need to be quick as we only have two places remaining: See here for more information and to book.

The cover photo of the article as also featured above was taken by a young fellow Surrey Hills Enterprise member #lukewhatleybigg Luke also created our promotional film at Hill House Farm back in January 2019, see here: https://youtu.be/g8AfWFwii-c

The second photo used in the article was taken by Beckie Wingrove another fellow #surreyhillsenterprisesgroup member. This is a favourite of mine, the photo was taken during a workshop held in collaboration with The Salt Box last year.

Collaboration and supporting each other’s businesses are very important to Surrey Hills Enterprises and it’s members and I look forward to telling you more about further collaborations for 2020 very soon!


Gift an Experience for Christmas!

Gift an experience for Christmas and you will also be giving that someone special a memory they will treasure for ever!

Buy tickets for Hedges & Hurdles

We have exciting courses and workshops planned for 2020 suitable for men, women, families and private groups. Our outdoor Hedgelaying, Coppicing and Wattle Hurdle Making weekend courses run through January and February, we have a few spaces still available for some dates so don’t delay if you wish to reserve a booking as a gift for Christmas!

From February onwards we begin offering our Willow Craft and Wood Craft Workshops, the first of these will be delivered at Priory Farm, South Nutfield and are available to book now! We are very excited about the year ahead and have a full schedule planned for 2020 with lots of new skills for you to learn and crafts to make! We will be adding further workshops to our Experience Box Office to be held at our various locations very soon!

Our locations include:

  • Birtley Woodland Art’s and Wellness Space, Bramley, Guildford, Surrey
  • Priory Farm Estate, South Nutfield, Surrey
  • Sussex Prairie Gardens, nr Henfield, West Sussex
  • Grow At The Skim, Reigate Heath, Surrey

Private group experiences:

We aim to create a group experience bespoke to your requirements, just make contact and we can discuss this in more detail.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Lorraine & Paul, we look forward to seeing you in 2020!

Paul and Lorraine Matthews

Christmas Willow Workshops

We held our first Christmas workshop for 2019 last Sunday in the Lambing Barn with its scenic views reaching out across Priory Farm, Sout Nutfield and beyond. I was amazed by the abilities of our trainees, their finished crafts looked beautiful. I hope they enjoyed the event as much as I did, it certainly reminded me why I changed my career! It was important to me to find something that would allow me to obtain a good work-life balance, to enjoy spending time with others and passing on my skills and to be mindful and relaxed in my work and embrace each day and new experience as it comes!



I was joined by Renée Canter (aka The Girl Who Gardens) who delivered a Christmas Gift Terrarium workshop. This craft took me back to my youth when I fondly remember making miniature gardens in glass bottles, imagining that fairies and gnomes lived in amongst the plants. I was addicted to the Enid Blyton stories as a young child, even today I can’t wait to read aloud The Faraway Tree to my Grandchildren before they go to bed joining them on an exciting new journey in some new strange land as they drift off to sleep.

We have further Christmas Workshops taking place on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December at Lloyd Hall, Outwood. This is a larger venue, the barn has lovely high ceilings and plenty of room to wield our Hazel and Willow rods without taking someone’s eye out!

Included in all our Christmas workshops

All-natural materials and Christmas ribbons, candles and other accessories required to make your craft of choice plus:

  • Mince Pie and Mulled Wine!
  • Tea and Coffee and soft drinks
  • Take home your completed craft

Christmas Workshop – Saturday 7th December

Following on from the success of last weeks workshop I have added further choices for our morning workshop on 7th December. This workshop is followed by a lunch at The Bell, Outwood for those who wish to join us!

You can make one of the following Willow crafts:

BOOK HERE: Willow Tree Workshop – Using the same technique we use to weave an Obelisk you will make an attractive tabletop Willow Christmas Tree to decorate your home. There are different weaves that can be used to create your own design, every tree is unique!

IMG_0100BOOK HERE: Willow Tree Workshop – Using the same technique we use to weave an Obelisk you will make an attractive tabletop Willow Christmas Tree to decorate your home. There are different weaves that can be used to create your own design, every tree is unique!



BOOK HERE: Willow Heart Workshop In this workshop, you will learn how to make a Willow Heart using a buff Willow that had it’s bark removed and is soaked prior to use.


BOOK HERE: Willow Angel Workshop – Weave an Angel sculpture in the design of your choice using a buff Willow. Your finished Angel will stand between 2ft-3ft in height.

Christmas Workshop – Sunday 8th December

BOOK HERE: Christmas Wreath or Table Centre Piece Workshop – f you would like to learn how to make your own Hazel Wreath or Table Centre Piece and decorate with natural materials for Christmas then this is the workshop to join. However, you need to be quick as we only have 3 places remaining!

2018 Christmas Workshop, Lloyd Hall, Outwood

Gift Vouchers Available

If you would like to purchase gift vouchers for our 2020 workshops then please make contact, provide your details and I will send you details on how to pay and gladly pop one in the post for the amount of your choosing:

Make Contact




Foraging for Christmas crafts!

As I look through my window the wind is blowing through the trees and the autumn leaves dance in the air as they fall to the ground. I love the colours of Autumn and take every opportunity to get out in the fresh air to walk my dogs and to coppice Hazel and Willow for our crafts. As I walk out my front door it is only a short walk before I am surrounded by fields and trees in this wonderful area of outstanding natural beauty, the Surrey Hills!


As the weather begins to turn cold and we look to our winter wardrobe thoughts of foraging for materials for my Christmas Wreaths and Table Centrepieces come to mind. I have called out for volunteers to help with some coppicing and have had a great response so far. It’s not too late if you wish to express your interest as this activity will be repeated each month until March next year. See here for more information: Willow Harvesting for Volunteers

I have also published several Christmas workshops recently and may add more to suit demand. We have various choices from weaving a Willow Angel or Heart to making a tabletop Willow Christmas Tree or as mentioned above a beautiful door wreath or Table Centrepiece.

If you would like to bring some botanical charm to your home (or someone else’s home) then you will be pleased to learn that Renée Canter (aka The Girl who Gardens) will be joining me in the Lambing Barn at Priory Farm delivering her Christmas Gift Terrarium Workshop on Sunday 17th November.

Our Christmas workshops are held at Lloyd Hall, Outwood and the Lambing Barn, Priory Farm Estate. Both facilities have all modern conveniences including heating.

The obligatory Mulled Wine and Mince Pies will be included whilst listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album! For our workshop, on 7th December you also have the option to join us for lunch at the Bell in Outwood!