There are different styles of hedgelaying across parts of the UK. Each style has been developed over many years to cope with the
climate of the area, different farming practices and the type of trees and shrubs that grow in the hedge.
There are more than thirty styles recorded in the UK plus others in France, Germany and Holland. Each year the National
Championship tests the skills of hedgelayers on eight of the main styles in current use. The panels below are brief descriptions of some
of the styles, however, details may vary even within the same region.
The brush (bushy growth) is placed to the livestock side of the hedge. Sawn timber stakes are used 24″ to 30″ apart.
A strong, stock proof hedge is built by weaving the pleachers (layed stems) in front and behind the stakes – no binders are needed.
Finished height of the hedge is 3′ 6″ - 4′.
This hedge is normally layed on top of a bank which forms the main barrier against livestock. The densely packed brush
designed to keep sheep and lambs secure. This style uses crooked hazel sticks to secure the finished hedge.
Like Devon, this hedge is layed on top of a bank. It is kept low to the bank, tightly woven with itself and bonds (thin sticks) used to
secure it internally and externally. The finished hedge is a half barrel shape about 2′ 6″ - 3′ high.
Lancashire & Westmorland
Lancs. & Westmorland hedges needed to be well maintained for both cattle and sheep. Stakes are placed about 18″ apart on alternate
sides of the hedge with the pleachers (cut stems) layed between at approx 45°. The pleachers are woven around the stakes and the
hedge finished to a height of at least 3′ 6″. The hedge is square cut.
Farms with large animals, such as cattle and horses need hedges able to withstand the weight of the animal pushing against them,
styles such as the Midland Bullock were developed for this purpose. With a finished height of 4′ 6″, the stakes are driven
into the ground 18″ apart behind the stool (stem) line towards the brush (bushy) side of the hedge. Hazel binders are woven along
the top to give maximum strength. The livestock would be in the field behind the brush side of the hedge with a crop on the other side
(“face” or “plough” side).
A row of stakes placed alternately on either side of the hedge holds the pleachers (cut stems) in place with some being woven
around the stakes.
South of England
This hedge is cut and layed over to create a double brush. A single line of stakes 18″ apart in the centre of the hedge with the top bound.
Both sides of the hedge are trimmed.
This is a double brush hedge with sawn timber stakes driven in at 35° slant, 30″ apart. Dead wood is used in the hedge to protect the regrowth
from being browsed by stock. The dead wood and live pleachers (layed stems) are bound down the centre line, with top and side of hedge being trimmed.
If the crop rotation is of an arable bias, as in parts of Yorkshire a very thin hedge may be layed as no stock would be held in fields against
the hedge for up to five years, which gives the layed hedge time to regenerate before the threat of grazing off by stock. This hedge is used
in sheep/arable rotation, with arable rotation being used when the hedge is first layed. The hedge is cut close to the ground with plenty
of thickness of material in the bottom. Sawn stakes and rails are used to finish the hedge.