Hands on Hedges Project

General Description

In 1937 George Midgley, a farmer and hedge layer from Yorkshire was brought over to Northern Ireland by Josias Cunningham, Crooked Stones, Co. Antrim to cut & lay hedges on his farm. His work generated so much interest that he was invited back by the Agricultural Committee's in Counties Down and Londonderry in 1938 to carry out a series of hedge laying demonstrations on a number of farms (he brought along his son Hubert to help out). He carried out at least 23 demonstrations around counties Down and London/Derry, including at the first international Ploughing Match held at Carse Hall, Limavady in February 1938. He then returned again in 1939 to do at least 6 more demonstrations in Co. Down.

With funding from the Northern Ireland Heritage Lottery Fund, the HLAI have been researching George Midgley's tour and are now carrying out a series of modern hedge laying demonstrations to highlight the continued relevance of this traditional craft to agriculture, the landscape and biodiversity in Northern Ireland.

Project Aims

To raise awareness of the multi-functional value of Northern Irelands hedgerow resource.

To demonstrate the continued relevance of hedge laying as a management technique to protect and enhance the NI landscape and increase biodiversity.

To research the tradition of hedge laying in NI

To promote recognised standards of craftsmanship in hedge laying and to develop a network of trained hedge layers within relevant organisations in NI.

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