National Hedgelaying Society

Why Do We Lay Hedges?

Laying hedges is just one of the techniques which can be used to manage hedgerows. Other techniques include trimming and coppicing. Coppicing involves cutting stems off at ground level to encourage the hedge to regenerate. Left unmanaged a hedgerow will continue to grow upwards and outwards and will eventually become a line of trees.

Derilict Hedge

Where farmers keep cattle or sheep a good hedge is essential – although barbed wire fences can easily be erected they do not provide shelter like a hedge. Hedges are important for our wildlife, environmental, heritage and scenic value. A well managed hedgerow is thick and bushy, an impenetrable barrier to sheep and cattle and a haven for wildlife.

Cattle will lean against a hedge and make gaps whilst sheep push through the base, hedgelaying prevents this. Cut stems are bent over at an angle, secured with stakes and in some styles binders along the top, so creating a living, stock-proof barrier. Hedgelaying is the only hedgerow maintenance method currently available which promotes regrowth from ground level and which will ensure the health and longevity of the hedgerow. Once a hedge has been layed regular trimming will keep it in good order for up to 50 years when it may be appropriate to lay the hedge again.