Before the advent of barbed wire fences, hedgerows were managed in Europe for 100s of years as stock-proof barriers through the traditional skill of hedgelaying. Utilizing the coppicing response of deciduous trees, hedgelaying rejuvenates an aging hedgerow which is ‘leggy’ and full of gaps and restarts growth from the base.  The hedgerow trees and shrubs are cut ⅘ of the way leaving a living hinge, and are layed at a 45 degree angle, one on top of the other to create a stock proof barrier. In some styles, stakes and binders are used to strengthen the hedge and make it “hog tight and bull strong”

During this workshop we will learn how hedgelaying works by building a hedgerow from trees and shrubs along a 100 ft lane way that will also act as a windbreak onsite. Using the traditional tools: billhook, axe and saw we will vision into the future; as our actions now will have a lasting impact on the land for generations to come. Throughout this process we will also learn about planting techniques and plans for the high density of stems required for creating a European-style Farm Hedgerow.

On sunday our work will be shared with everyone attending the whole gathering as we invite all participants to engage in a ritual planting of the newly layed hedge row. By bringing our attention to the land through intentional action we honour the past/history, cultivate for the future and presence ourselves in the moment.

This living project will be tended by the stewards of this land and be fun to witness over the coming years as it transforms & grows.


Jim Jones & Sarah Dolamore

Fun fact: Jim and Sarah found each other over a hedgerow. Jiim came from the UK to teach hedgelaying workshops for the University of Waterloo, and one of them took place at Sarah’s family farm, Mount Wolfe Farm in Caledon. They now offer this traditional skill as well as others through the Ontario Rural Skills Network, a skills project Jim set up as part of his work in land-based livelihoods at Waterloo. Jim & Sarah are committed to creating community around land-based livelihoods, whether through regenerative farming or skills and crafts teaching.

IG: @OntarioRuralSkillsNetwork

Cost: $65

Date: Sat May 20

Group Size: 10 Participants

Contact: [email protected]