• 700 Trimmer banner

Shelbourne keeps trails clear in Cornwall

The beautiful countryside in Cornwall is a popular attraction for tourists, not just for walking but for biking trails. One contractor who is responsible for the maintenance of these trails is father and son team Roger and John Sandoe, who operate from the town of Bodmin. Their recent purchase of a Shelbourne Powerblade HD60T hedgecutter has made this operation more efficient and more importantly more enjoyable.

The tourism industry is a big business in Cornwall and is often a way for farmers and contractors to diversify their operations. A popular attraction has recently been bike trails throughout the countryside and woodland, such as the Clay and Coastal trails, and the Bodmin Beacon nature reserve. Keeping the trails maintained involves cutting the verges back on a regular basis, keeping the paths clear in addition to tackling some of the overhead growth periodically at the beginning and end of the season. With some three passes in February, the trail mowing peaks in July with plenty of bramble growth to be knocked back.


SandoeContractor Roger Sandoe and his son John have been responsible for this task for a number of years, investing in a Shelbourne HD60T hedgecutter in 2010. Arriving in the October, the HD60T replaced a seven-year old Bomford Hawk with a 5.4m reach. Supplied by new dealer Jonathan Lutey Agricultural Services in Wadebridge, some five miles west of their yard, this particular machine had to be converted especially for the job to allow the cutting of verges on the trails. A narrow road kit was converted especially to fit onto the HD60T to allow the head to be pulled straight behind the machine rather than at an angle when in tight spaces.

Roger Sandoe first saw the Shelbourne machine at the Royal Cornwall Show in 2010 and when it came to replacement the HD60T was opted as the way forward. “We were very impressed with the build quality of the Shelbourne compared to our previous machines,” he explains. “They looked a heavy-duty unit and was some 400kg heavier than our existing hedgecutter, which we need for our operation.”

With a longer reach of 6.0m, telescopic boom and verge kit, the Shelbourne machine was ideal for cutting both verges and overhead growth. Used on a John Deere 6930, the mounting of the HD60T was also an improvement over the outgoing model where the telescopic stabiliser arms were re-designed and a stronger McConnell headstock fitted. With the Shelbourne there was no need for this and when traveling over undulating terrain it is a very stable machine. As the tractor is used on other jobs the hedger is required to be removed regularly which Roger Sandoe considers a simple operation.

Working with other contractors in the area and the local council, the Sandoes do not just specialise in hedgecutting. They also run a John Deere 7810 with a hookloader trailer for transport duties, in addition to a Fendt 818 which is in charge of running a stone crusher on their latest track reclamation operation.

“We try to keep tractors working all year round,” says Mr Sandoe, “and the track reclamation business has been a very popular venture in the area and as diversification is the key, there is always plenty to do.”#

The Sandoes have also been working with Shelbourne’s Powerspread after putting it to test on sewage cake from South West Water. Again, in cooperation with another local contractor, the Powerspread machine worked extremely well in the conditions when up against the competitive spreaders and provided an excellent spread pattern.

Mr Sandoe is impressed with the build quality of his HD60T, as well as the extendable boom and the hydraulically adjusted roller which have also improved operation. He particularly likes the proportional electronic joystick control feature for precise adjustments and allowing the driver to decide the speed of each operation.

The only problem he can see with the HD60T is that the pipes can catch trees and branches on the top pivot when cutting close to the tractor, but he believes this would be the case with any brand of machine. He hopes to keep his Shelbourne for as long as his previous machine but so far has no doubt that it will be reinvesting in another when the time comes.


Follow us on facebook Follow us on twitter View our Youtube channel