This chapter covers hedge laying techniques common to most styles of laid hedges, and concentrates on the Midland style. Details of other regional styles are given in following chapters.
For simplicity, the information covers the basic techniques for laying a hedge which is in an optimum state for laying. In practice, many hedges are neglected and not in an optimum state. Details about the problems likely to be encountered in a neglected hedge, and the techniques used to deal with them, are described in Chapter 10 – Restoring a neglected hedge.
The Midlands style of hedging extends from County Durham in the north, through Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. It blends with Welsh styles in the border counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and reaches down to the northeast corner of gloucestershire, and into Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, where it overlaps with the South of England style (see map here). Not all parts of these counties are hedged, for example the Pennine moorlands and the Lincolnshire fens.
It is convenient to describe the Midlands hedge as ‘standard’, not only because it is the style most readily associated with hedge laying, but because compared with Welsh and South Western types, there is little variation in style other than that imposed by individual craftsmen. It is possible to refer to a true ‘Midlands type’, while in Wales for example there are at least four types with many variations within them.