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SolwayCoaster News

Hedgelaying Training

If you would like to know what it is all about, a training day is also held, at the same venue, to encourage more people to learn this traditional skill. All tools will be provided but please wear suitable clothing and footwear. If you are interested in coming and having a go, please contact the AONB Unit on 016973 33055

Results of the Tenth North Cumberland Style
Hedgelaying Competition

Held on Saturday 16th February, at Southerfield House, Southerfield near Abbeytown, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs G Wilson and Sons, the event proved to be popular and spectators gathered to watch the fine skills of the competitors, in this traditional craft.

This year the judge, Mr William Bell, commented that the standard of the competition remains excellent and the 13 trainees produced a very well layed hedge and hedgebank. The competition keeps alive the tradition of the North Cumberland Style of hedgelaying which provides a unique feature of the field boundaries of the Solway Plain landscape.

Prizes were presented by Mrs J A Wilson. The results were:

Open Class: (Prizes sponsored by Rickerby Ltd)

Novice Class: ( Prizes sponsored by WM Plant)

Junior Class:

Best Hedgebank Restoration (prize by Mr R Wills, Bowness on Solway), James Graham.

The Alan Duckett Trophy for best Summer Growth, Michael Roebuck

Catering was provided by ‘Meals on Wheels’. Volunteers from the Solway Coast Community Volunteer Group acted as stewards for the day and also in the setting up of the event.

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, who organised the competition would like to thank the following funders and sponsors for their generosity to make the event possible: ‘Work the View’ Project within Rural Skills Cumbria, through Friends of the Lake District. This project is part financed by the European Agriculture Fund of Rural Development: Europe Investing in rural areas.

Rickerby Ltd, WM Plant, Dryden Ward Fencing from Brayton, Aspatria, Cumbrian Newspapers Ltd, Aspatria Farmers Ltd, Mr R Wills and landowner Mr G Wilson.

Annual North Cumberland Hedgelaying Competition

Hedgelaying combines craftsmanship and artistry and when you see an expert at work it provides admiration and awe. This is demonstrated at our Annual North Cumberland Style Hedgelaying Competition in February.

Traditional Field Boundaries

Cumbria has about 14,000 miles of hedgerow and this provides one of the most important habitats for a wide diversity of wildlife in our countryside. The reason for laying hedges is practical and simple. Hedges make excellent barriers for livestock, but not if they are gappy and sparse. A laid hedge is nearly impenetrable and will outlive any fence with minimum maintenance.

An estimated 250,000 miles of hedgerow have been grubbed out since the 1970s, along with the wildlife that depends on them. Organisations such as the National Hedgelaying Society and enthusiastic individuals have helped to keep the art of hedgelaying alive.

Hedgelaying styles are unique to different areas of Britain, and even within a county, providing characteristic field boundaries with the North Cumberland Style being a feature of the Solway Plain landscape. It is ideally carried out from late winter to early spring before the buds burst, and a billhook is the ideal tool.

The classes range from Junior, Veteran, Open class and Novice Class. All welcome.

Ninth Hedgelaying Competition (February 2012)

This is the main film of the Hedgelaying Competition that took place at Burgh Head Farm, Burgh by Sands, near Carlisle on Saturday 18th February, 2012. The competition was arranged by the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the film features the whole process of hedgelaying from start to finish.

See more videos of the hedgelaying from Open Door Multimedia

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