Wyre maintains "ancient rural craft" tradition with annual hedgelaying competition

The Wyre & Myerscough hedgelaying competition took place on Saturday December 7, celebrating the development of successful hedgerow maintenance in rural Wyre.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:00 pm
The annual hedgelaying competition involving Myerscough College students.

It formed part of the Lancashire and Westmorland Hedgelaying Association’s Grand Prix of competitions, where competitors, including some Myerscough students, take part in hedgelaying at Myerscough College over four classes – Championship, Open, Starter and Novice.

The event was deemed a "superb networking opportunity for farmers, hedgelaying contractors and countryside officers" who demonstrated and competed in hedgelaying in the Lancashire and Westmorland style.

Craig Thompson, head of agriculture and countryside at Myerscough College said: "It’s a really sustainable way to manage hedges and preserve their life.

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Hedgelaying competitors at Myerscough college

"Hedgelaying is a dying skill but a very important one for our countryside.

"A well maintained hedge will keep better than a fence, they provide shelter for livestock much better, and it’s a lot better for the environment and a very green way of helping wildlife too."

Hedgelaying is a sustainable hedgerow management practice and ensures the hedgerow remains stockproof whilst offering shelter from wind and rain and maximising biodiversity benefit, Mr Thompson added.

Alison Boden, coast and countryside manager at Wyre council said: “We are delighted to support this event and once again it was a great success despite the weather.

''As well as giving competitors a chance to demonstrate their skills it’s a great opportunity for spectators to come along and watch this ancient countryside craft first hand and to see professionals at work.”

18-year-old David Martindale is studying a Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Agriculture at Myerscough College and took part in the competition this year.

He said: "Last year during my course we had a few lessons in basics of how to lay a hedge, and I went along to the competition last year and got a feel for it.

"Hedgelaying is quite hard work. I actually wear welding gloves for protection as they’re all hawthorn hedges and quite prickly."

The full results of the competition were:

Championship Class

1st Craig Procter (Best Overall Hedger)

2nd Andrew Kirkwood

3rd Peter Gibson

Open Class

1st John Handley

2nd Steven Boyes

3rd William Bell

4th James Haigh

Novice Class

1st Jon Oliver

2nd James Yates-Bell

3rd David Martindale

4th Nicky Leeth

Starter Class

1st Jack Thornton

2nd John Martindale

3rd Tom Cook