HATTON Country World is doing its bit to protect traditional rural crafts by continuing to use the services of the local village hedge layer.
The Hatton Estate, near Solihull, is celebrating a 50-year association with Richard Titterton this month, who is currently working on hedges that he and the then estate owner Captain Percy Arkwright planted in 1960.
Mr Titterton moved to Hatton as a boy and has been part of village life ever since.
“It’s funny but I remember clearly the day we planted this hedge (in photo). I had an important football match in the afternoon. I said to Captain Arkwright that I would have to leave early so he kept an eye on his watch. We had an enjoyable time and managed to get a good amount of the hedge planted before we realised his watch had stopped! I ran home and made it to the game just in the nick of time.”
Johnnie Arkwright, the son of Captain Arkwright and a descendant of Sir Richard Arkwright of Spinning Jenny fame, now runs the estate with his wife Arabella, a descendant of Matthew Boulton, another father of the Industrial Revolution who financed the invention of the steam engine.
Mr Arkwright said: “The Hatton Estate has always been passionate about preserving rural England and has resisted the removal of hedges over the last 40 years, even though that meant having very small average field sizes which are not efficient for big modern agricultural machines. A third of the estate now has the same hedges as it did in 1906.”
Mr Arkwright said: “Laying a hedge is a very traditional skill which has largely vanished so we are delighted to be able to support Richard and help keep this traditional rural craft alive.”