Hedge your bets to learn traditional country craft

Traditional craft: A scene from last year's Bowland Hedgelaying Competition
Traditional craft: A scene from last year's Bowland Hedgelaying Competition
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Experts and enthusiasts will be helping to keep a rural skill alive next month at the annual Bowland Hedgelaying Competition on Saturday, March 2 – a change to the original date and venue.

And with categories from beginners through to professionals, the day will offer a chance to see the range of techniques and tools involved in this traditional countryside practice.

Hedges are a key feature within the Bowland landscape, adding a great deal of scenic value to this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As well as acting as a barrier to stock, hedges also provide important shelter for farm animals and are also an extremely valuable habitat for all types of wildlife.

Left to its own devices, a hedge will grow upwards and outwards, leaving the lower part open, giving stock the chance to escape.

Laying the hedge every 10 or so years helps to keep it thick, healthy and tidy and encourages the plants to regenerate.

Over the years, different areas of the country have developed their own particular styles of hedgelaying, which take into account the species growing in the hedge, local farming practices and climatic conditions.

The styles local to this area are known as the Lancashire and Westmorland styles, both of which will be on display at the competition.

Bowland’s annual hedgelaying competition has four classes: Championship, Open, Novice and Junior, and entries are still being accepted. Organisers want people to book as soon as possible to ensure no-one is disapponted.

However, if you’re not quite ready to wield a billhook yet, you can still go along and chat to some of the experts taking part.

This year’s contest is being held at Great Mitton and there will be signs directing participants and visitors to the venue.

On arrival, visitors will be directed to parking, which is limited on site.

For further information about the day, or to enter the competition, contact Dave Padley on 07860 578558.