THE traditional art of hedgelaying will be shown to be alive and well at a competition this weekend.

Durham’s annual hedgelaying competition will take place on Friday at Grindon Grange Farm, Stockton-on-Tees.

This year will be the 21st year of the contest, organised by Durham County Council to raise awareness and promote good practice in the skills and techniques of field boundary management that are now essential to the conservation of County Durham’s landscape heritage.

Sue Mullinger, landscape delivery officer at Durham County Council, said: “The Hedgelaying Competition is always a really special event, and I would encourage anyone who has not seen the skill in practice to come along.

“As well as a fantastic skill, hedgelaying is so important to our environment as it provides a habitat for wildlife.

"It also is a great part of our heritage, with different regions creating different styles to suit the climate of their area.

"There is therefore a real sense of place and pride rooted in this competition.”

The competition is open to three class levels– open, which includes anyone who makes a regular living from hedgelaying; intermediate, for anyone regarding themselves as a competent hedge layer but does not earn a living from hedgelaying; novice, for anyone with some experience of hedgelaying. Those entering the novice category can compete as a pair.

Participants will be tasked with laying approximately 7m of hedge, depending on class, entered in five hours.

The Durham Hedgelaying Competition is one of few competitions that allow the competitors to cut whatever style they choose as long as the finished hedge is at least 3ft 6in high.

Spectators can get advice about field boundary management and learn about available grants. It is hoped the event will plant new interest in those new to the craft.

This year’s event coincides with the Scottish Hedgelaying Competition being held on Saturday, October 12 and the Northeast Hedgelaying Competition in Northumberland on Sunday, October 13. Competitors from all over the country travel to make a long weekend and can take part in all three competitions.

Details about the competition can be found online at