Hedges & Hurdles Country Skills & Crafts have been invited to run regular workshops and training courses at the new Woodland Art’s and Well Being Space on the Birtley Estate in Bramley, Guildford.
The aim for Ruth is to develop her existing space at Birtley house into an outdoor rustic community space. This will be a core hub for artists and craft makers alike but also for yoga teachers and wellness practitioners to use as a teaching space alongside her already established carving studio.
It is so important to teach heritage crafts, to pass on our knowledge and keep these skills alive. We use traditional materials, natural resources including Hazel and Willow to create our crafts. The majority of what we (Paul and Lorraine) use we coppice ourselves, with the help on occasions from volunteers! We can honestly say that our activities are environmentally beneficial and really help increase the biodiversity in the woodland environments where we work.
There is a clear synergy between our businesses and vision for the future and we look forward to helping Ruth realise her dream of creating a ‘nurturing woodland space’ for all.
We kick off our collaboration with a selection of Willow Craft Workshops for September:
We will continue to add further dates for workshops in September and beyond and you can expect to see a varied selection of Wood Crafts for you to choose from. If you have any special requests for workshops or training courses then please make contact.
We’re calling all goblins, ghosts and creatures of the night! Dress up if you like and give us a fright!
Just creep, float, crawl or hop and join us for a Halloween Workshop!
Moving into October we will be running Halloween Workshops, these are either 90 minutes or half day workshops, take your pick. We have a selection of crafts for you to choose including Witches Broom Sticks, Pumpkin Carving and our special Halloween Spider Web Dream Catchers!
FOR A FULL LIST OF ALL OUR WORKSHOP AND TRAINING COURSE EXPERIENCES PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE BOX OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
We are halfway through the month and have already delivered some very successful workshops including a Bushcraft Skills For Beginners Workshop; a Gruffalo Walking Stick Workshop & Picnic and early this week our second combined Obelisk and Wattle Hurdle Workshop at Sussex Prairies, Henfield.
In addition I (Lorraine) was delighted to be invited to run a private Willow Obelisk Workshop in a beautiful garden in Horsham. It was lovely to be around like-minded people and keen gardeners too!
This week I have another three workshops, this morning I am delivering a Mini-Obelisk Workshop followed by a woodland lunch prepared by the Salt Box at Priory Farm.
Wednesday I am back at Sussex Prairies, this time for my first Willow Craft Workshop which is now fully booked. We will be making Willow Dragonfly and Hearts, hopefully outside (weather permitting) and if not within their garden room, adjacent to the tea rooms where they offer the most delicious cakes to die for!
On Friday I am back at Priory Farm for both a morning and afternoon workshops. In the morning we will be making Willow Dragonfly and in the afternoon Willow Hearts so if you would like to join this relaxing, mindful workhsop we still have a few spaces available!
The remainder of August is mixed as I am taking a break for a few days next week to recharge my batteries before exhibiting over the Bank Holiday weekend at the Edenbridge & Oxted County Show, this is one of our favourite shows of the year and well worth a visit!
The final week of August is again full of various workshops:
Thank you to all our new and prospective customers for following our blog posts and newsletter. This has been a very exciting journey so far and we are looking forward to bringing you many more workshop experiences for you to enjoy with your friends and family.
Look out for our next blog post announcing a new collaboration and workshops to be held at yet another amazing location within the Surrey Hills!
This year I (Lorraine) began working with Willow to create Obelisk, plant supports of all sizes. In previous years the material of choice has been Hazel, I coppiced this together with my husband Paul who also uses Hazel for Hedgelaying & Hurdle Making. Paul (aka the Woodsman) is a professional Hedgelayer and manages the coppicing cycle at Felland Copse, Reigate. I will be writing much more about Hedgelaying and it’s benefits in future posts as we head into autumn and the winter months when this traditional skill is practised and Paul begins his commercial Hedgelaying work and participates at ploughing matches and local and national competitions! In October he starts work on his first hedge of the season and this is located on our doorstep? Being so close this will give us a great opportunity to pop back and forth to see the hedge at different stages in the growth cylce and share these updates with those who are interested!
CALL OUT FOR VOLUNTEERS: I was so pleased to be joined by several very helpful volunteers earlier this year to help me harvest both Hazel from Felland Copse and Willow from Priory Farm. If you are interested in helping out this November and/or in February then please do let me know, your reward will be to learn to make a willow craft or to take away a small bundle of Willow, whichever you prefer!
Thank you to Renee Canta aka @thegirlwhogardens, Niki Bolger @shemakes and my long standing friend Debbie Whittenbury and her dog Ronnie!
I must admit, I really enjoy working with Hazel as this material produces an extremely strong Obelisk and is also great for creating a sturdy and re-usable wreath base. Willow, however, is so much easier to harvest and there are so many different varieties and colours to choose from, it also grows very fast and can reach up to 12ft in just one year! I continue to learn more and more about the versatility of Willow and my new found love for learning the traditional skill of weaving! Willow is much easier on your hands than Hazel and in addition to the Willow I harvest locally I am now buying buff Willow to use for more intricate weaving work such as my Dragonfly, Heart, Flower, Bird Feeder, Fish making Workshop Experiences.
I will continue to use Hazel for making Christmas Wreaths, those I made for myself last year I have since stripped of all the green foliage and will redress again this year. Birch or Curly Willow is also a great material for dressing my Hazel wreath base before I add any fresh foliage. I know it’s probably far too early to mention the ‘C’ word but I have just booked Lloyd Hall in Outwood and published a Christmas Workshop page on my website, ready to take early bookings! I will add additional venue’s and dates in time but wanted to ensure I secure this lovely local venue a.s.a.p. before they become fully booked!
Obelisk Workshop Experiences
Some of you may already have joined my rustic Obelisk Workshop Experiences and made a mini-Obelisk and/or large Obelisk up to 7ft in height and managed to fit it into your car to take home and display proudly in your garden. Others may not have yet had the pleasure so I thought I would highlight the courses still available:
In this workshops you will have the choice of a 1 hr workshop to make a Mini Obelisk suitable for a pot (we do this on a table top) or a 2.5 hr workshop to make both a mini Obelisk and a larger Obelisk (up to 7ft in height).
Given the time of year we can create an open top plant support if preferred, these are suitable for tall flowering plants that need that extra support to stop them toppling over.
Spend a morning beneath the trees learning how to use natural materials and learn how to weave either a Mini-Obelisk or a Bird Feeder to take home for your garden.
Following the workshop, we’ll sit down at our shared dining table beneath the trees for a delicious 2-course feast, cooked over an open-fire and inspired by seasonal, local ingredients.
We have combined two workshops into one so that you can choose to make and take home either/or both an Obelisk (plant support) and Mini-Wattle Hurdle for your garden!
Thank you for your interest in our growning business, we very much look forward to sharing further posts with you each month. We will continue to notify you of our new workshops and training course experiences plus additional collaborations once we are ready to announce these. If you have any feedback or something in mind that you would like to discuss please do feel free to make contact and let us know your thoughts!
Thank you, Lorraine & Paul Matthews
Hedges & Hurdles, Lorraine and Paul Matthews are passionate about sharing their knowledge and skills with others, encouraging people to reawaken their senses and rediscover a newfound love for nature and the outdoors! After all, it’s in our DNA!
A little bit about Paul: A passionate horticultural expert and a National Hedgelaying Champion Paul has a high level understanding of trees, plants, organic gardening and countryside management with nature conservation always in mind. In addition to his commercial work, Paul also delivers our Coppicing, Hedgelaying and Wattle Hurdle Making training courses (Experiences). Paul also works at Titsey Place & Gardens from March to September each year as a gardener. There is a lovely walled kitchen garden at the estate, with lots of structures made by Paul, well worth a visit!
This will be our third year of running the ever popular two day Coppicing, Hedgelaying and Wattle Hurdle Making Experiences. The courses are delivered between October and March, held at New Pond Farm, Reigate in collaboration with Reigate & Banstead County Council.
A little bit about me (Lorraine): In order to achieve a better balance in life I made a huge leap by changing career and moving away from the scholarly publishing industry back in 2017 to take stock and find a new path that offered me the opportunity to spend more time in the outdoors, be my own boss and experience something completely different! Fast forward two years and together with Paul we are running our own business Hedges & Hurdles. I have enjoyed learning new skills but the best part is delivering our outdoor courses, sharing my new found passion and spending time with like minded people.
This year we are exited to have introduced a wide variety of Experiences available throughout the year from traditional Willow Crafts, Wood Craft, Wood Art, Bushcraft and coming soon our Discovery Workshops suitable for all ages and abilities. We have a great local location to work from, the picturesque Priory Farm, South Nutfield with a choice of barns, woodlands and outdoor space to deliver our wide range of courses, regardless of the weather!
Our combined Obelisk and Mini Wattle Hurdle Workshops continue to be popular, especially with RHS members who have a 20% disocunt when attending one of our events hosted by RHS partner garden Sussex Prairies, nr Henfield.
Our experiences are designed for Adults, Teenagers and families, many suitable for children aged 8 years and up. Therefore, for those with little ones you may be pleased to learn about our new Gruffalo themed workshops and picnics to be held on the lawns and woodside at The Dene, Knights Garden Centres, Worldingham.
In addition, we also custom design private group events for celebrating special occasions and Corporate team building events!
All natural materials used in our courses are cut and harvested locally by Lorraine and Paul as part of a sustainable woodland management programme.
Hedges & Hurdles recieved the Trade Mark Surrey Hills in 2018.
We are proud to be part of the Surrey Hills Enterprises community. You will find us on Friday 12th July at Surrey Hills Rural Economy Conference, Cranleigh. Bringing leading edge Speakers and key figures together to build expertise, stimulate debate and inspire innovation.