Hedge layers of all levels are being invited to take part in this year’s Durham Hedge Laying Competition taking place at Piercebridge Farm and Organic Shop near Darlington. The tournament is organised by the Durham Hedgerow Partnership, hosted by Durham County Council.
Spectators are also encouraged to come along and watch the entrants practicing this ancient tradition when the competition takes place from 10am on Friday, 9 October. Competitors will be pitting their skills against each other in three classes – open, intermediate and novice – and will have five hours to lay a hedge around seven metres long, depending on their class.
More than 30 different styles of hedge laying have developed across the UK over the centuries to suit different climates, the type of farming in the area and the types of trees and shrubs in the area. People taking part can use whatever style they like as long as the finished hedge meets the size requirement and last year’s competition saw all of the five main traditional styles used.
Sue Mullinger, chair of the Durham Hedgerow Partnership, said: “The competition will give people a rare chance to see skilled people practicing a truly ancient craft. One of the key aims of the Durham Hedgerow Partnership is to ensure these traditional skills are not lost and the annual hedge laying competition is a great way to raise awareness of our work.”
The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16 and winners will receive the coveted championship trophy and a cash prize of up to £80. Entry forms are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org which need to be returned by Wednesday, 7 October.