Monday, 16 March 2015


Here's a couple more snaps from my trip to Ballymoney the other day.  Both taken from the Seacon Road - or was it the Ballyvelton Road - I can't quite remember.  Anyway, somewhere around there.  The Ballyvelton Road I have just discovered - it leads from Ballyrashane (that of the Creamery fame) to Ballymoney and a very nice drive it is too.

A clump of trees somewhere between Coleraine and Ballymoney, 2015

This next wee photo shows the poor state of hedges around this part of the world in the early 21st Century.  Now there was a time when our beautiful hawthorn hedges grew tall and wild and in the spring had a fantastic display of flowers - the May flower.  Hence the old adage 'Never cast a clout 'til (the) May is out' - meaning don't take off any layers of clothes until the Mayflower has blossomed.  Nowadays you'd be hard put to find any Mayflowers, since the farmers give all their hedges a Number 1 cut early in the season.  This (below) is typical of things - you'd hardly call that a hedge, for goodness' sake  Where are all the hedgerow birds to nest/feed/shelter?

What used to be a hedge

So why do they cut them down so much? Probably due to a number of reasons.  Partly because they can.  They've all got the tractors and the machinery to flail the crap out of the hedges, so they do. In the old days a couple of big ligs with hand tools could maybe have trimmed the hedges back a bit but nothing like to this extent.  Partly because they want to cut them back from the field so as to maximise usage of the land - although very few crops are grown in this part of the world anymore - the land is mostly used to graze cattle or sheep, or perhaps to grow silage.  Is the yield improved significantly by doing this?

I'm sure lots of people look at these hedges and think 'Nice and neat - great job'.  Not me.  I'm definitely in Grumpy Old Man mode with regard to our hedges.  I don't like neatness in the countryside when it's man-made - I'd rather let nature take its course and have wild and unkempt hedges - with blossom!  Here endeth today's rant.

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