AN annual competition which celebrates the ancient craft of hedgelaying takes place this week.

The contest, organised by Durham Hedgerow Partnership, takes place at Woodlands Hall Farm in Knitsley, near Consett on Friday with spectators welcome to attend on the day.

The contest is free to enter and has three categories – open, intermediate and novice – where competitors will compete to lay seven metres of hedge over the course of the day.

Cllr Ossie Johnson, from Durham County Council, said: “It is enormously satisfying to watch a craftsman with a neat slice from a billhook and a thump or two from a mallet turning a scraggly, thin row of trees into a neat, dense network of living branches.”

He added: “Hedge-laying is essential to preserving and regenerating existing hedges and competitions like this are helping to keep alive an art that could easily dwindle and disappear.

To enter the contest, please email