The site was similarly located to TD1 hedge at Findon ,in that it was on top of the Downs with a panoramic vista to the South with views over Arundel Castle and the sea beyond. To complete the picture skylarks seemed to be heralding in the spring, with song filled vertical take off and landings. Magic.
Around 20 cutters took on a hedge that was predominantly hawthorn, that had been coppiced in part, which through up its own challenges , with multi-stemmed stems requiring careful pleaching. Although Frank's instructions were that this was a hand tools hedge, most cutters reverted to using a chainsaw given the complexities of trying to pleach a stem that had been coppiced in the past. This presented its own difficulties with a proliferation of tool/chain bluntening flints around each stem.
Although the day was titled Midland day, only around 8 cutters did Midland , with the rest doing SOE. We were extremely lucky to have the services of past supreme champions Paul Matthews and Alan Ashby giving expert tuition on how to do Midland style. It is an education just to watch these guys work a hedge , with economy of movement , preciseness of cutting and forward planning, that sets them well above the average cutter. Those who received tuition were indeed lucky recipients.
As ever the day was was not just about champion cutters and all who took part did the Society proud. Natasha and Beth flew the flag for the fairer sex, with Bob and Mike showing that oldens have still got it.It was great to see the 2 Phil's , Strugnell and Rowell ,knocking it over in style
Society members are a talented bunch , with Mike Mason covering off Devon style and Rob fast becoming our expert in Lancashire and Westmoreland style ( the style to do with few stakes and no binders).
Thanks must go to Frank and Phil for setting things up and ensuring stakes and binders were delivered and to Charlie Mellor, the Head Gamekeeper on the estate , who was very welcoming and engaging. Hopefully we can return to the estate next season and get the Duke of Norfolk cutting.
The day ended appropriately at the George Inn at Burpham , where a splendid meal was enjoyed by all.
The Committee are working provisional dates for the 2022/23 season and plan to publish a provisional programme in the next week or so, , so cutters can block out dates for next season.