Giles Pursey, Somerset

“I always say to anyone in hedge trimming who’s considering a new machine that if they haven’t tried a Shelbourne, they should.”

That’s Somerset contractor Giles Pursey’s advice, and with almost every make of hedge trimmer having been through his hands, he’s well-qualified to offer advice. Putting 900 hours/year of hedge work on his tractor and its Shelbourne Reynolds HD760T Powerblade partner, he works within a 15-mile radius of his base in the village of Street, Somerset  cutting hedges for around 70 local farms.

“Previously I’d run a long line of McConnel hedge trimmers,” he explains.  

Giles Pursey

“But with the most recent machine in particular, reliability was becoming a big issue, with problems ranging from spool block oil leaks to ram end breakages.

“I can’t afford to let customers down and get behind with work, or chase around dealers for spares or for a service engineer to come out.”

When his last machine came due for renewal, therefore, he looked at a number of different machines, including a Shelbourne Reynolds Powerblade. It was this machine that impressed him most, he says, for a number of reasons.

“The noise of the rotor drive was the first thing that put me off a number of those I tried,” says Giles.

“None of them operate silently, of course, but the Shelbourne was a lot quieter, probably because of the low-flow hydraulic system. If you’re spending long days trimming, it’s nice to have something that doesn’t leave your ears ringing at the end of the day.

“Then there was the specification offered as standard on the Shelbourne, with a lot of features that I would have had to pay extra for on some of the other machines, such as head and arm float. And with a Telescopic model I could have telescopic reach  still within a compact machine, which is important on our narrow lanes.”

Having made his decision in favour of the Shelbourne, he duly placed an order for a Powerblade HD760T, in time for the 2013-14 hedgecutting season. With telescopic reach of 4.8 to 6.0m and specified with a 1.5m (5ft) head, like all Shelbourne hedgecutters his machine has been built exactly to his requirements.

“I wanted a rotor with two rather than three rows of flails, as I reckon this makes things easier to keep in balance if one requires replacing, as the only other one I have to also change to keep things even is its opposite number, rather than a third one as well. Shelbourne had no problem supplying me with what I asked for.

“They are a really good company for listening to customers and responding with improvements, such as the redesigned kingpost with sufficient room behind it for debris to pass through rather than get trapped behind and build up.”

But it’s not just the way in which Shelbourne machines are made that has impressed him – it’s also what they are made from.

“I specified the HD760T with competition flails, and after two and a half years of use at 1,900hrs/year there was still enough life in them to complete that third year.

“They provide a much better finish than what I was getting from the flails on my last machine, and when flailing ditch banks they don’t tend to pick up the material and wrap the reeds around the rotor. It leaves a cleaner cut, and also deposits the material neatly, retaining it within the head.

“The hydraulic roller adjustment is also a real bonus, meaning I can move straight from finishing a hedge to tidying the bank alongside it without having to leave the cab.”    

Operational design also comes in for praise, with the Shelbourne joystick scoring marks for being easier to operate over a long day.

“Ease of use is excellent, but it’s also the little things, like the way it’s laid out, that make it good to work with. I can dial in the sensitivity I want from the stick, and having the telescopic buttons on top of the joystick makes them much easier to operate precisely with your thumb. On my old machine, where they were on the side of the stick, it was easy to nudge them accidentally and move the boom outwards without intending to.

“If I had to pick three reasons I’d buy another Shelbourne, I’d say reliability, build strength and back-up. It’s my first, but it won’t be my last.”

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