Hedgelaying is a management solution for overgrown hedges widely practised throughout the UK and Europe during the winter months. A country craft that rejuvenates existing hedgerows by encouraging them to put on new growth, Hedgelaying improves the overall structure and strength of a hedge providing protection for crops and wildlife.
The South of England Style of Hedgelaying has a double edge brush. Both sides of the hedge are trimmed and stakes are set in a single line, 18” apart then bound using binders. The stakes and binders are produced from coppiced woodland poles, these can be Sweet Chestnut, Hazel, Willow or even Birch.
“Hedgelaying is the only hedgerow maintenance method currently available which promotes regrowth from ground level and which will ensure the health and longevity of the hedgerow. Once a hedge has been layed regular trimming will keep it in good order for up to 50 years when it may be appropriate to lay the hedge again.” National Hedge Laying Society
There are more than 30 regional styles of hedgelaying across the UK and these differ depending on the climate, the types of shrubs and trees that grow in the hedge and the regional farming practises used.
Paul Matthews is an accredited member of The National Hedge Laying Society, a charity dedicated to managing the traditional skills of hedgerow management and the South of England Hedelaying Society. Paul competes at local ploughing matches and national competitions run by the societies.