• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

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Ancient craft showcased in annual hedge-laying competition

People are being invited to take part in an annual competition which celebrates the ancient craft of hedge-laying.

This year’s hedge-laying competition takes place at Woodlands Hall Farm in Knitsley, Consett on Friday, 13 October and people are also being encouraged to come and see the skilled competitors showcase their work.

The competition, organised by Durham Hedgerow Partnership and supported by Trees Please, is a celebration of one of the key skills of British farming and land management and aims to raise awareness and promote good practice in the techniques of field boundary management as well as encouraging interest and participation in this artisan countryside craft.

It is free to enter and has three categories – open, intermediate and novice – where competitors will hone their cutting, staking and binding skills to lay approximately seven metres of hedge over the course of the day.

Those finishing first, second and third in each class will receive prize money, with an overall winner also declared.

Spectators are encouraged to come along and witness an overgrown, mature hedgerow being transformed by professionals – including national and supreme champions – cutting different regional styles into a work of art that is valuable wildlife habitat  

Cllr Ossie Johnson, Cabinet member for tourism, culture and leisure issues, said: “Hedge-laying is essential to preserving and regenerating existing hedges and competitions like this are helping to keep alive an art that could easily dwindle and disappear.

“It is enormously satisfying to watch a craftsman with a neat slice from a billhook and a thump or two from a mallet turning a scraggly, thin row of trees into a neat, dense network of living branches.”

For more information about the event and to enter, please email landscape@durham.gov.uk

By Emily