by Ian Bushell
On February 1st, Clive, Simon, Frank, Phil and I attended a LANTRA Hand Held Hedge Trimmer training course at Motcombe. Our instructor was Roland Heming of Forest and Arb Ltd.
The course took us from risk assessment of a task, through maintenance of the machinery all the way to practical use of the tools. We had taken down to the training site the three cordless machines the Friends own; two normal hedge trimmers and an extendable one, all with fully charged batteries.
The ability to use these machines during our working party mornings will be a massive game changer; taking out and reducing Bramble and Blackthorn will be so much easier and quicker with far less effort than using just shears and loppers.
Simon using the battery operated extendable hedge trimmer
The course was funded by a very generous donation from Rick and Katy of Wessex Rural Craft Ecology & Arboriculture, a tree surgery company contracted by Wiltshire Council to survey and maintain mature trees throughout the county. They have done a lot of work in the reserve and you may well have seen them there.
Rich Murphy, our tree officer, approached them and explained our dilemma: the county’s insurance will not cover us to use power tools if we have no training but the county’s training fund cannot be used to train volunteers to use power tools.
Rick and Katy very generously offered to pay for four Friends to do the one day course so that we could meet the council’s requirement that, if we are using power tools, we are suitably trained and qualified and properly kitted out with personal protection equipment.
We can’t thank them enough; this is going to make such a difference!