Hedgelaying Training Course

The desire to conserve and enhance our heritage hedgerows, undertake new (old) skills and spend time in the outdoors is on the increase. We would like to welcome you to join our Coppicing and Hedgelaying Training Course and enjoy an experience that will stay with you for life!

Professional instructor, Paul Matthews

When are the courses?

The training courses take place during selected dates (see below) from October through to the end of March. The course is spread over two days, commencing at 9.00 a.m. each day through to 4.00 p.m. with an hour break for lunch.


Menu to be confirmed nearer the time but it will be delicious!


The location of our two-day training course is Norbury Park, Fetcham, Surrey, a varied landscape, including woodland, grassland, farmland and a river valley. Public access is managed by Surrey County Council, conservation is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust and we have managed a section of Chestnut Coppice hear for more than 20 years.

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.


Course suitability

We welcome both novices and intermediates training up to 7 individuals per course. Private groups are also welcome. For those who are already experienced Hedgelayer, there will be an opportunity to learn a different style or two, pick up tips and learn new methods.

“Not what i was expecting. I expected a detached atmosphere, focused on only the basics and to leave the course with the same attitude as when i went in. It was the exact opposite. I made 4 amazing friends who i will stay in contact with. We laughed almost constantly, learned about each others backgrounds and supported each other while we worked. The hospitality of Paul and Lorraine was shockingly endless, how better to learn a new skill than with hot, homemade food and kind words to encourage you to persevere. And the training itself was the best it could be, i was encouraged the whole time and to have demonstrations by a 4 time national hedge laying champion was definitely behind our success. Not only did we learn how to lay a hedge but we also learned about sourcing the materials to do so, the upkeep of it, the tools used, the history behind hedge laying and the competing world of it. I never expect to experience another course like this and recommend it to anybody with the slightest interest in managing the countryside. You will not regret it!!! This was the 2 day Coppicing and Hedge laying course”, Review by Clara Fernandez Dawson, April 2021

Who should attend?

The courses are open to both men, women and children over 10 years old. We can facilitate individual bookings and private groups. This course is great as a team-building activity!

We will be on the edge of a field, therefore, please note that Hedgelaying is not suitable for anybody unable to move around easily on rough ground.

What will I learn?

Saturday: Coppicing and preparation of materials

Following an introduction to the course, you will spend the day learning how to coppice the stakes and binders from the neighbouring woodlands and prepare them ready for use. Location: Norbury Park, Fetcham.

Sunday: Hedgelaying

The Hedgelaying begins, you will have the option to work in pairs or if you prefer alone. You will be laying between 8 to 10 yds of the hedge and will learn all the skills required. All hedges will be cut and laid in the South of England style, a double brush hedge. Location: Bay Pond Godstone (October & November); Birtley Estate, Bramley, Guildford (December through to March)

Group bookings

We can facilitate groups of up to 21 individuals and will provide additional, professional instructors to facilitate the training ensuring no more than a 6 (trainees) to 1 (instructor) ratio. Please contact the organiser directly to discuss and arrange dates to suit.

Bespoke courses

If you would like a bespoke training course this can be discussed with the organiser and a quotation provided. The trainer may be willing to travel to undertake the course elsewhere e.g. on your own land. Training is not necessarily restricted to weekends, please inform the organiser of the dates you would like to be considered.

What shall I bring with me?

We will supply all the required tools and protection including axes, billhooks, pruning saws and eye protection. Suitable gloves such as welding gauntlets are also required. If you do have your own tools and protection please bring these with you making sure all tools have been sharpened beforehand.

You will be cutting with hand tools. If any chainsaw cutting is required this will be undertaken by the instructor for safety reasons.

You will remain in the open air throughout the day, therefore, participants should dress warmly and bring waterproofs and strong footwear, preferably boots with toe caps.

Please bring your own foldable chair, water bottle and mug/cup.

Professional instructor

This two-day training course is provided by Hedges & Hurdles owner, Paul Matthews a Hedgelaying and Hurdle making professional. Hedges & Hurdles has been in operation since 2000 contracting out services to local authorities, organisations such as the National Trust and private residents and landowners including local farmers who wish to ensure a stock-proof barrier around their land. Paul is a registered and active member of the South of England Hedgelaying Society and the National Hedge Laying Society of England & Wales. An active participant in Regional and National Hedgelaying competitions Paul was awarded the title of National Champion in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and was also very proud to be awarded Supreme Champion status in 2015.

On Sunday 20th February Paul participated in the South of England Hedgelaying Societies 2022 annual competition and was the proud winner of the South of England Championship Cup from the Champions Class! More trophies followed, see here for the blog post.

Hedges & Hurdles reserves the right to alter or vary the programme due to events or circumstances beyond its reasonable control without being obliged to refund monies.

If the course is cancelled by the organiser for any reason we will contact you as soon as possible and will always endeavour to reschedule your booking for another date, however, if this is not possible a full refund will be provided.

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