ALL credits to Tim Russ Photography
All credit to Tim Russ Photography
Some superb pictures from Friday (setup), and during the event:
ALL credits to Tim Russ Photography
All credit to Tim Russ Photography
Other With a forecast of RAIN we knew all to well what to expect.
So on a slightly damp Saturday we gathered in a field for the 41st annual hedgelaying competition.
We kicked off at about 9 o'clock which was pretty much as the real rain started.
The hedge was actually pretty good, it cut well and didn't have brittle stems or much dead, so the only thing to worry about was the wind and a bit of rain.
There were a lot of tall a bushy stems, which were something of a challenge to get into place without breaking with the wind blowing pretty fearlessly all day, even one of the loo's blew over (I don't know if anyone was inside, probably best not to look?).
We all got on well, and within in the 5hrs most people had got their sections sorted and looking good.
Because of the weather most people didn't do much last minute "fettling", and our usual post event wander about to guess who was in-line for a prize just didn't happen.
Massive thanks to Phil Hart of standing in as judge and helping John Savings. Phil has a very good eye for the detail, so we were all under the spotlight. Both our judges were out in the rain while we managed to eat our food in the (semi) dry. Big respect.
Very well done to the winners
4th Mike Mason
3rd Graham West
2nd Phill Piddell
1st Johnny Adams
4th Stephen Mockford
3rd Nigel Adams
2nd Mike Bentley
1st David Dunk
3rd Clive Gilligan
2nd Frank Wright
1st Lex Roeleveld
Gary Moore 2nd
Russell Woodham 1st
Extra thanks to the entire organising committee.
Pictures - please add more if you have them!
After weeks of rain the weather gods smiled on us on Saturday and we were greeted to fair day on the outskirts of Pulborough at the RSPB bird sanctuary. A glorious setting overlooking the South Downs and River Arun made the world seem right.
Frank had managed to find us a challenging hedge which gave us all a good work out, especially for those entering the National Championships at Pewsey on 26 October.
An informal draw took place around 8.30am and the hooter sounded bang on 9.00am
As with a lot of hedges we undertake this had been allowed to grow wild but patchy in places, but most cutters were gainfully employed for a good 5 hrs. As ever while everyone struggled , Gary and the Dunkmeister appeared to be casually undertaking a Saturday morning job for a valued customer. Phil gave himself the handicap of starting 1.5 hrs after everyone , after acting as Sherpa for tools and equipment as the hedge was a fair way from the car park.
I shared a cant with Tim and just as well when we discovered brambles and rose growing upto 20ft- we made good use of a pole saw and set of ladders. It took us 3 hours to clear the cant of the entangled mass. My first pleacher with my new chainsaw was a decent sized ash, which had hidden ash dieback and snapped off- good start.
The experienced group of cutters transformed the unruly mass to something that resembled a hedge and all had a really good work out for the Nationals; I could hardly walk on Sunday.
While this was going on Chris acted as chief steward and fielded a number of enquiries from visitors to the site.
As ever thanks must go to a number of people who enabled this event to happen:-
· Frank and Chris for finding the hedge
· Dave T and Dave D for providing the stakes and binders
· Bob Hunt and Des Whittington for transport the binders
· Phil H- for organising the draw and on the day transport manager
· Chris – for being steward
· All the cutters for giving up their Saturday and tackling a demanding hedge
The Society is well represented in a number of classes at Pewsey and would appreciate support- try to go along – it is a great event.
Our training season kicked off on a damp October morning in Isfield. This is the same site we held the Improvers day competition in January. Last years hedge was looking good, plenty of re-growth from all sections.
We split into two groups today, some of the more experienced layers finished off the last of the improvers hedge, while the trainees were on the other side of the field on a rather nice double planted section.
Everyone turned up on time, and after the initial briefing we divided our trainees up into pairs allocated them a trainer and set off.
Our new society tools (Donated by Alan Ashby, and refurbished by "theludite" (http://www.theluddite.com/) were divvied up amongst the senior members for use by their trainees. The homework task of course was to sharpen and make tool covers, no pressure there then.
We seem to have picked up a pretty good set of students this year as they all seemed to be getting on very well, and following the instructions issued. We were fortunate to have Alan Ashby acting as a sort of mobile expert offering wise words, and the odd bit of billhook work. Our other mobile expert was of course our esteemed chairman Phil Hart who also made a point of demonstrating heal removal with an axe/billhook so the trainees could see what they were aiming for.
Most of the students had finished pleaching by lunch time, so we adjourned to a nice cozy barn for some very fine soup, and sossies in rolls, washed down with cake and chockie bikkies.
After lunch we finished off the stakes and binders.
It has to be said that some of the stake lines were very good, so for a first attempt we should be expecting some pretty impressive results at the Improvers day next year. Hopefully a few will stick with the society and try their hands at the competitions.
Pictures as always:
The final ploughing match of our season saw us at Hirstpierpoint. A quick look at the hedge suggested "gnarly" a more detailed look confirmed that we might have been better off staying at home.
Held at Applesham Farm, Coombes, Near Steyning West Sussex on Saturday 21st September 2019.
This is one of the bigger ploughing matches in the area and the weather always seems to set fair,
and 2019 was no exception with sunshine and blue skies and temperatures which made it feel more
like summer than early autumn.
This year’s match was held on the South Downs within sight of Lancing College, it being 30 years or
more since there has been a match held on a downland farm, which makes for an interesting day for
competitors on the ploughing & hedge laying classes.
Normally the hedge laying competition is not so close to the ploughing however this year the visitors
had to walk pass the hedge laying competition to watch the tractors & horses ploughing or take a
tractor & trailer ride around the site.
They would have seen the cutters battling in the warm sunshine with a good testing hedge mostly
made up of thorn, and with hard underfoot conditions making it hard work to get the stakes into the
Eight cutters did a good job with what they had to work with, and with 9 yards to lay put on a good
event for the visitors to watch.
Gary Moore chose to judge this one, with Dominic Gardner as the steward, and as the afternoon
drew to a close the prize giving took place and the results were ; in 1st place Mike Bentley, 2nd David
Dunk & 3rd Phil Hart.
This is a good show and always well attended but it was good to have the hedge laying close to the
main action, and congratulations to the first three but well done to the cutters on putting a good
competition in such warm conditions.
Next year’s match will be on 20th September at Fairoak farm ; Buncton Manor Farm Wiston near
Chris Burchell Collins