It is a labour of love, a voluntary, personal legacy as a gift to the users,
and is entirely independent of any other organisation.
Cornwall's ancient and unique hedges have always been very much loved by the general public, but largely unappreciated by the specialists. The function of our hedges was taken for granted, their essential landscape value unacknowledged, their history not generally realised, their phenomenal wildlife and floral diversity overlooked. The skilled craft of building them was unwritten, in danger of being lost and forgotten as the old traditional hedgers passed on.
The Cornish Hedges Library was the brainchild of Robin Menneer FRICS Msc. The son of a Cornish farmer, he learned hedging as a boy from an old man whose experience of the craft was rooted in the 19th century, and his early love of the historical landscape of Cornwall and its wildlife stayed with him throughout his life. Naturalist Stella Turk MBE suggested to him on his retirement in 1992 that, especially in view of his having set up the West Penwith Environmentally Sensitive Area in the latter years of his professional career, he was the man to do something about the state of the hedges and hedging.
Ahead of his time in computing, Robin's vision embraced the then quite adventurous concept of a website to publish a definitive body of knowledge on all aspects of Cornwall's time-honoured but increasingly endangered treasury of hedges. Stella recommended him to contact Sarah Carter, incidentally a competent amateur hedger, for her unrivalled work on the ecology, wildlife and flora of Cornish hedges. It proved a meeting of minds from which the Cornish Hedges Library was born.
In addition to their own lifetime experience and knowledge, the authors gathered the word-of-mouth testimony of the last generation of skilled traditional hedgers then still living, including true masters of the craft, and the few-and-far-between hedge gleanings from earlier writers on Cornwall, to present a definitive source of literature on this subject. The library meets the demand for information on all aspects of Cornish hedges, for which there is no other equivalent existing source of comprehensive and reliable written material. With virtually no precedent or previous research to refer to, most of the material on this site represents original work, with few citations possible. Although, until the authors of the Cornish Hedges Library tackled the problem, hardly anything had been written specifically about Cornish hedges, there are glancing references among other material and many other subjects are associated. Some of the papers have inevitably been compiled with reference to a multitude of sources. To include citations or annotate the text would have made it tiresome to read, so instead the bibliography is given as a separate list under Literature Sources.
Please browse our list of papers below. These are reviewed at intervals so if you have visited before please delete from your cache to be sure you are downloading the latest version. The pages are mirrored to save paper if you wish to have a paper copy - they are designed to be printed on both sides of the sheet and placed in a ring file or binder. Some of these papers have a lot of pictures, so may be a little slow to download - your accepting this possible delay would be much appreciated, thank you.
YYou are welcome to download and print the papers and photographs for your private use and study. If any material from this website is reproduced or used in any other way no fee is asked, but acknowledgement must be made of the copyright holder and the Cornish Hedges Library as the source - thank you. (Photographs except where otherwise stated are copyright of the Cornish Hedges Library. The copyright on work by the late Robin Menneer is held by his Estate.)