introduction to hedgelaying: What is hedgelaying?

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.

This two-day Introduction To Hedgelaying training course is delivered by professional hedgelayer Paul Matthews. 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, 2017 and 2022.

Paul is the current, 2024 South of England Hedgelaying Champion and has also won several re-growth awards too!

Paul was also very proud to be awarded the highest accolade of Supreme Champion status in 2015.

We also offer four and five-day training courses for those that wish to progress their hedgelaying skills further with the option of an NHLS Lantra assessment at the end of training.

About The Course

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 welcome both novices and intermediates training up to 6 individuals per course. Private groups are also welcome. For those who are already an experienced Hedgelayer, there will be an opportunity to learn a different style or two, pick up tips and learn new methods.

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.

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.  



What will I learn?

Day one: 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.

You will learn how to use a froe (traditional hand tool) to learn the skill of cleaving (splitting) the Sweet Chestnut into 2, 4 or even 8 stakes for the hedge using a ‘cleaving break’. You will also learn how to point up the stakes using an axe and wooden block.

Day two: 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 a hedge. All hedges will be laid in the South of England style, a double brush hedge.

To begin laying the hedge the stems are pleached using hand tools. The stems are then layed over one on top of the other. Once the section of the hedge has been layed the stakes are placed in the hedge and hammered into the ground using a wooden beadle (hand-made traditional wooden hammer). Next is adding the Hazel binders, these are woven using the South of England Style of binding to hold everything together. The sides of the hedge are then trimmed before the hedge is complete. 


Adult/Teenager: £260.00 (ex VAT) for a 2-day course (from 17yrs up)

Child: £210.00 for a 2-day course (from 10yrs to 16yrs)



Hedge location for day 2 of training will vary depending on date


Hedgelaying Skills Training & Lantra Accreditation

Participants of the two-day Introduction To Hedgelaying Course as outlined above can also obtain a certificate of completion.

We offer a five-day ‘Hedgelaying Skills Training Course’ for those that wish to progress their hedgelaying skills further with the option of an NHLS Lantra assessment at the end of training.

Three levels of assessment are linked to National Hedgelaying Society National Accreditation at Bronze, Silver and Gold.


We can facilitate groups of up to 12 and will provide an 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 training courses are available. 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.
Upcoming COURSES

Ita Sherlock,
Hedgelaying Training Course

I just attended the excellent two day hedgelaying course. Paul had endless patience with my questions, and explained all of the steps very clearly. I was so impressed with how much I was able to do, and it is great to learn from someone who clearly knows what they are doing. Lorraine laid on copious amounts of super-tasty food, with breakfast and lunch on both days.

James Herd,
Surrey Wildlife Trust

Working with Lorraine and Paul at Hedges and Hurdles has been an absolute pleasure. They have both been adaptable to changing circumstances whilst still able to deliver the highest quality end product, whether it be training courses or contracted hedge laying.


Ian Fielding,
Hedgelaying Training Course

The hedge laying course put together by Paul and Lorraine really provided me with a fantastic introduction to the art of this craft. By taking us through the practice of what materials are used to construct the hedge and crucially how to create these materials, we were off to a sound start …  I cannot recommend this course highly enough! Thanks to you both!

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