It was clear from the start that the Droscher family had been hard at work, with a marquee already set up, complete with power and cooking facilities. Their efforts really helped make the day.
This got the day off to a good start with teams being drawn out of seeded hats to ensure that the teams were well matched. It was good to see a number of this year’s trainees make the event.
The hedge itself was a right mixture of hazel and hawthorn which had spread to quite a width with a ditch on the road side. Barbed wire and significant amount of brash was removed to leave enough stems for hand tools users and chainsaws alike.
Trainees and novices were able to get stuck in , and where necessary given a helping hand by more experienced cutters; the spirit of co-operation and collaboration was present along the hedge length. This was greatly aided by lashings of tea and coffee from the Droschers, along with some marvellous home made cake.
Although the day started clear and frosty, the frost was going out of the (muddy) ground very quickly, a sure sign of impending rain which started just before lunch which was taken in the much welcomed marquee.
More bacon rolls, cakes and hot drinks followed as cutters sat on hay bales swapping stories of awkward pleachers and sharpness of axes.
The day was brought to a close by our Chairman Phil Hart who thanks all those who had contributed to the success of the day and asked David Heasman to act as judge.
David was very fulsome in his praise of SEHLS efforts and thought we had done a splendid job on a pretty ropey hedge. In having to make a call as to which team he considered to have done the better job , he said it was a very close run thing, but that the Chairman team just shaded it.
The result was immaterial , especially as Peter Tunks had left the trophy at home !
Thanks must go to the numerous people who contributed to the success of the day in so many ways- hedgelaying days just don’t happen by themselves, it takes a lot of planning and management by many people, who give their time willingly. Particular thanks need to go to the Droescher family organised and put on the catering and marquee.
The SEHLS bandwagon rolls onto the annual competition at Lee Farm Angmering Park on Sunday 18 February. Closing date for entries is 3 February.
Pictures as always