VOLUNTEERS have practised the craft of hedge-laying, as part of a drive to keep traditional country skills alive and encourage wildlife in urban areas.

Thirteen residents have spent three days being taught the centuries old technique by a North Yorkshire County Council countryside rangers and have laid more than 100 metres of hedge at Omega Pond, Thurston Road, Northallerton.

The craft was originially developed to keep farm animals within fields and prolong their lifespan.

It has become less common since the Second World War due to changes in farming methods, but the council is promoting hedge-laying’s benefits for wildlife, as it rejuvenates hedgerows, creating more shelter and food for birds, mammals and insects.

The scheme follows a volunteer day in October at the Hambleton District Council-owned site, during which wildflower areas were created around the pond, and is part of a project to encourage more wildlife into the green spaces of the town.

The work on the site supports the Northallerton Environment Enhancement Initiative, which aims to enhance areas of abandoned and neglected land in and around the town for people and wildlife, and identify ways for locals to get involved.

Richard Furness, of Northallerton Blooming Together, has also sourced, planted and distributed more than 1,000 native bluebell bulbs within the town for local planting in support of the RHS Britain in Bloom competition.