The hunt is on!

In 1990, the Etesia Hydro 100 was the worlds very first direct collect ride-on mower. It went on to set the bench mark, not only for the French manufacturer’s subsequent machines, but for the industry as a whole.

Professional end users who were looking for a ride-on mower designed to withstand the rigours of commercial use purchased the Hydro 100 in their droves, ensuring that it became one of the company’s best sellers. Etesia UK are aware that there are some of the original machines still in use today.

The Etesia UK team and their network of dealers are scouring the country to find the oldest working Hydro 100. The ‘winner’ will receive a brand new, state-of-the-art Hydro 100 MVEHH Evolution replacement.

The new Hydro 100 Evolution has a unique concept that cuts and collects grass in all weathers, even the pouring rain. Top quality manufacturing allows mowing, season after season, ensuring that this machine out-performs all other ride-on mowers in its class. A more powerful engine, large capacity 500-litre grass collector which is emptied without leaving the driving seat and more operator comfort sees the Hydro 100 Evolution really setting the standard for all ride-on mowers.

“This competition will make users look at and appreciate their Etesia mowers even more than they do already”, said Les Malin, Etesia UK’s General Manager. “When our customers see how long they have lasted, they will realise the build quality. We always suggest customers examine entire life-time costs and not just the new price when looking at any product”.

For full terms and conditions or to enter the competition, visit

A prune with a view

A National Trust property in Devon keeps tree and hedge cover in check, quietly and without fumes.

Situated on a ridge above the Plym estuary on the outskirts of Plymouth, the much visited landscaped garden at 18th Century Saltram House is very much exposed to south coast winds. Head gardener at the National Trust property Penny Hammond has the constant task of maintaining screening, yet preserving the delightful views across the Devon countryside. She’s now found a way of achieving this that’s easier and less obtrusive to visitors.

Holm Oaks (also known as Holly Oaks) provide evergreen protection for the garden areas around the House, but the lower branches have to be kept in check to allow visitors to see the surrounding landscape. Previously this was a job done by 2-stroke petrol saws and because of the noise and fumes, the work had to be carried out before 11.00am when Saltram House welcomes its first visitors each day. Since April this year things have changed with the use of battery-powered tree and shrub equipment.

“We’d had Pellenc equipment on trial from Exeter dealer Radmore and Tucker and, because of the way they performed for us, decided we had to add them to our armoury permanently,” said Penny Hammond,”

“I have to make a case for a fixed asset purchase like this, but it wasn’t difficult since it fits neatly into the greener technology policy the National Trust is adopting these days. It means we don’t have to call on contractors for cutting jobs anywhere near as much as we used to.

“The Holly Oaks are pretty tough to prune, but with the Selion pole saw it’s like slicing through butter with a hot knife. We like very much that it can easily be extended and best of all its quiet and there are no fumes. We now do the job more quickly and at any time because there’s no hindrance to visitors. It’s very much opened things up for us in terms of work planning.”

A 300-metre stretch of beech hedge planted six years ago for screening part of the garden area also has to be kept trimmed and a Pellenc Helion hedge trimmer was bought at the same time for this and other hedging work, as was a Pellenc Excelion brushcutter for general ground clearance work. Each of the new machines runs off a single lithium-ion powered battery unit that fits comfortably around the user’s shoulders.

Penny Hammond has three full-time staff in her department and upwards of ten regular volunteers. She says that a real bonus is that the new tree and hedge trimmers are used with ease by everyone involved in the garden work at Saltram.

“In the past there used to be many more gardeners doing the work here, but now equipment plays a much bigger role, so it’s important that what we use earns its keep. These new machines certainly do that. They are a dream to use.”

Town’s green amenities move forward with battery power

The cathedral town of Guildford in Surrey is very mindful of its appearance and well recognised for it, having collected an array of Britain in Bloom and Chelsea Flower Show awards over the years.

It is the latest municipal authority to introduce Pellenc battery-powered hand equipment into the upkeep of its amenity and leisure facilities. The parks department of Guildford Borough Council, which is responsible for all of town’s amenity grass and flora as well as having a contract with Surrey County Council for highways work, purchased a number of Pellenc products from their local dealer Richmonds Grounds Care of Haslemere.

According to the department’s Operational Supervisor, Arthur Kinge, the decision to add this alternative to petrol-powered machines to what is available to its 38 full-time staff was part environmental, part economic. Two of Pellenc’s Airion vacuum blowers, Helion hedgecutter and two pole saws have been in regular use for a wide range of duties in the town for a year now and been well received by operators and the public. The idea is they are very much a multi-use resource and not just for specific tasks.

“We always try to be progressive,” he said. “I first saw Pellenc equipment at SALTEX a couple of years ago and was impressed. Our policy is always to keep trialling new equipment to see if we can do things more efficiently and to find new solutions to problems. It’s part of a conscious effort by the Council to make better business sense of equipment resources rather than cutting back on machines, manpower or jobs. These machines are lighter and cost less to run than their petrol equivalents, but we have a lot of petrol machinery here that functions well, so changing over completely to battery power will be a gradual process dictated by feedback and budgets.

“Hand-arm vibration is one of the biggest issues we have when sourcing equipment. Keeping to within a tally of 400 points per user per machine makes achieving optimum efficiency a constant challenge. The Pellenc equipment is well suited to offering a full day of safe and comfortable usage.

“We always have to be especially mindful of noise levels, especially for work near schools and residential areas. The battery-powered blowers and hedge trimmers have extremely low levels and do efficient jobs much more quietly than petrol machines.”

Within the remit of the Parks and Countryside Service is the 52-hectare Stoke Park and Gardens, now in its fifth year of Green Flag status. This multi-purpose facility dates back to the 18th century and plays host to the Surrey County Show and Guilfest three day music festival.