A surprise sunny day made for a great turnout at the Friends of the Lake District’s annual hedge laying competition on Saturday 3 February at Sizergh, near Kendal.

It brought together 25 beginners, intermediate and open level hedge layers to compete and demonstrate their skills and attracted about 100 spectators.

It was also a chance for some of those who joined a Friends of the Lake District training day the week before to test out their new skills in the beginner’s class. The 16 people on the training day received expert tuition from professional hedge layers Peter Gibson from Kendal, Andrew Kirkwood from Gatebeck and Joe Craig, Chair of the National Hedge Laying Society, who is from Galgate. 

After competing in three different classes, judges Joe Craig and Martin Robinson announced the winners as: 

Best Hedge of the Day - John Handley from Whinfell, near Grayrigg

Best Staking - Kev Mitchell

Best Knicking - John Handley

Best Junior - George Harrison

Best Pair - Ann Shaw & Stephen Cartwright

Open Class -  1st John Handley, 2nd Peter Gibson, 3rd William Hodgston

Intermediate Class - 1st David Moore, 2nd Dave Shepherd, 3rd Tim Povall

Beginner Class - 1st Kev Mitchell, 2nd Hector Meanwell, 3rd Fiona Robinson


Kay Andrews Landscape Engagement Officer at Friends of the Lake District says:

“It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm and energy of all those who took part and spectated on the day. We hope the competition and training events, run in partnership with the Lancashire & Westmorland Hedge Laying Association and the National Hedge Laying Societ, improve participants skills and encourage more people to get involved in the heritage skill of hedge laying.

“Our hedgerows are a vital network for wildlife, sequester carbon, help prevent flooding as well as making the field stock proof for the farmer. Events like this are essential in continuing the rural workforce by passing on this traditional countryside skill. Thank you to everyone who got involved in the day, and to farmer Richard Park at Low Sizergh Farm for hosting us,” added Kay.

The second hedge laying competition takes place in the Forest of Bowland in March, visit hedgelaying.org.uk for more information.