Hedge Laying

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About Me | Services | What is Hedge Laying? | Regional Styles |
   

About Me:

My first introduction to hedge laying was a row of 20-25ft high hawthorn 'trees' whilst volunteering with BTCV in Leeds. Within six months of this I entered my first hedge laying competition and, although not placed, was pleased just to finish in the allotted time. Not being put off, in 2007/8 I won four of the five titles in the Novice class of the Lancashire and Westmorland Grand Prix making me champion in this class. In addition I hold the title for best summer regrowth over all classes for 2006/7.

Accredited as craftsman by National Hedge Laying Society (No: Hul001-40), I am now laying hedges professionally throughout Yorkshire.

 

 

   

Services:

  • Free no obligation advice and quotes within 50 miles of Leeds
  • Hedge laying in various styles to suit situation
  • Gaps replanted and new hedges planted with native trees as appropriate
  • Coppicing work undertaken

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What Is Hedge Laying?:

Conservation of our hedgerows is becoming more and more important as they provide green corridors of habitat for wildlife, helping maintain biodiversity in the UK. Increasingly hedge laying, once a craft limited to farmers and land owners, is being considered in more urban areas. Old gnarled hawthorn hedges can be rejuvenated using this traditional craft. In the worst cases of neglect, an old hedge can be coppiced and will regrow to form a stockproof barrier more quickly than a newly planted hedge.

 

Developed as a means of creating a stock proof barrier using material on site, hedge laying involves partially cutting through the stems of the hedge plants at ground level and bending them over. The hedge plants, although apparently drastically cut, remain viable and keep growing where they are laid. In addition, new shoots appear from cut areas, specifically the stump where the plant is bent over. These new shoots will eventually provide new stems to be laid in the future; the cycle of laying a hedge every 10 to 20 years can keep a hedge as a living fence for centuries.

Although Hawthorn is most commonly laid (it being thorny and as such creates a stock proof barrier) most non-coniferous hedging plants can be laid.

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Styles:

Throughout the country different styles of hedge laying have evolved largely in response to the different stock. Here are the three main styles seen around Yorkshire and surrounding areas:

 

Lancashire and Westmorland Style

This style is mainly to keep in sheep and lambs and, unlike many other styles, is stock proof immediately. Of all the styles this is one of the most natural looking; a square-shaped bushy hedge typically 1m high and 0.8m wide.

The hedge is laid between a double row of stakes taking care to retain as much bush as possible.

Midland Style

Having evolved primarily to contain bullocks, this resulting hedge is around 1.2m-1.5m high and only has bush retained on the stock side.

The hedge is laid and woven into a single row of stakes set 20-30cm behind the line of the hedge. The cut faces of the pleachers laid back at an angle combined with the binding on the top of the stakes gives the hedge its characteristic look.

Yorkshire Style

A style developed to contain sheep, when freshly laid this looks much like a living fence. Nearly all the side growth is removed and the hedge laid into a single row of stakes to give a very narrow (15cm) barrier. To finish, a softwood rail is nailed onto the top of the stakes. Although not stockproof for a couple of years (and requiring protection from grazing animals for this period) this can regrow very strongly.

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©John Hulbert 2012