The hedge alongside the Autumn Garden adjacent to the Martyn Walk is a traditionally ‘laid’ hedge. The technique consists of cutting into stems of hawthorn and other species near the ground, bending them down and holding them in place with hazel stakes. This encourages a mass of new shoots to grow up from the stems giving a dense impenetrable base to the hedge. This increases its effectiveness as a barrier, and its desirability as a nesting site for birds. Since the hedge is managed in four sections a newly-laid portion is created every two years.
This hedge contains the flora typical of old hedgerows of the Cambridge area, including Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus), Spindle (Euonymus europaeus), Hazel (Corylus avellana) and Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea). Dog Rose (Rosa canina) and Bryony (Bryonia alba) scramble through the hedge, while typical trees are Ash, Maple and Oak.
The hedge bottom flora is typical of this diverse, species-rich habitat and includes Bedstraw (Galium mollugo), Wood Avens (Geum urbanum), Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) and Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) and supports a wide array of insect and bird life. The hedge flora was modelled on a boundary hedge of the ancient Hayley Wood in west Cambridgeshire.