I spent part of yesterday at the Cotley Hunt Hedgelaying Competition.
It was lovely weather, the primroses were growing in the hedgebanks, and there were baby lambs in the fields. I got briefly lost in winding lanes on the way down from Crewkerne. The lanes are narrow, and often sunk between banks on both sides, suggesting this is “ancient countryside” and that the fields predate the enclosures.
The hedgelayers were on the Forde Abbey estate (just over the Somerset border into Dorset), working on three lengths of hedge. They were making Devon style hedges, on top of steep banks with ditches, which was great for me as it’s not a style I’ve seen first-hand before. Below are a few quick pictures of the event – I will put up more soon as there are some interesting series showing the process of plashing and so on.
Thanks to Mary Perry and Roger Parris, as well as to all the hedgelayers.(Apologies in advance if I have any names wrong).
Stuart Drew laying a pleacher
Stuart again, working on the same tree
Roger Vickery working with the billhook
Tina Bath clearing undergrowth in preparation
Various competitors and spectators
This gives a good view of the bank the hedge is laid on top of.
Felix sharpening a stake (or crook)