Obituary Robin Reed Menneer, FRICS, MSc

The following obituary was provided by Robin's wife, Sarah.

Robin was the eldest son of Robert and Christine Menneer who farmed Bonallack Barton near Helston in Cornwall, a much-loved home where he and his brothers Jack and Maurice particularly enjoyed rabbiting along the Cornish hedges and exploring the Helford river creeks with a dinghy. Robin wanted a career connected with farming, and after leaving Blundell’s he attended College of Estate Management 1949-51, before being accepted as a pupil by auctioneers Woolley & Wallis at Salisbury, where by way of recreation he sang in the cathedral choir. He did he two years’ National Service in the Royal Navy, and was with the Services on parade at the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. Based in South Wales, then in London and later at Reading, he worked in agricultural valuation from 1956-61, then as a land agent with the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries 1961-70. Further education was a year at Newport Technical College 1967-68, and a Masters degree course in ergonomics at Loughborough University 1970-71, leading to excellent qualifications for lecturing, supervising students, being in charge of computing at local office and attending conferences overseas. He continued to work for the Ministry as a specialist in ergonomics until 1983 and in rural conservation until he retired in 1992. Having at last managed to return to his beloved Cornwall, his last job with MAFF was setting up the West Penwith Environmentally Sensitive Area, which was hailed as the most successful model of its kind.

Robin’s first marriage with Anne Hartnoll, with whom he raised two sons and daughters, unfortunately broke down, but when he retired and decided to do something voluntarily about the sad state of Cornwall’s hedges he met naturalist Sarah Carter, leading unexpectedly to a very happy second union. Together they founded the Guild of Cornish Hedgers, obtaining a Heritage Lottery grant for the training of apprentices in Cornish hedging, and working to raise public awareness of these ancient structures. Robin devoted his retirement to setting up the Cornish Hedges Library, writing down the body of knowledge on Cornish hedges, previously passed on only by word of mouth and in danger of being lost as the old traditional hedgers died out, and made the information freely available via his website at For his work in the cause of Cornwall’s history, landscape and wildlife he was made a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh in 2013. Sadly by this time he was suffering from heart failure which forced him to retire fully, though he maintained his interest in farming and Cornish hedges in particular, and enjoyed his garden and his family.

Robin’s was a presence once seen never forgotten, and he was very much respected and loved. A genuine maverick, a brilliant, lateral-thinking eccentric and such a high-principled and great-hearted man, he will be very sorely missed.