Melplash Agricultural Society’s free hedgelaying training day keeps traditional skills and craftmanship alive

To keep alive the skills and craftsmanship traditionally used in the conservation of hedgerows, the Melplash Agricultural Society each year runs a free hedgelaying training day for those interested in learning the skill of hedgelaying Dorset-Style .  The training is led by local skilled experts and professional hedgelayers who give us their time for free in order to pass on their knowledge and craft to others.

This year 22 people of all ages, men and women, attended the training session that took place just outside Bridport near Bradpole along Mangerton Lane.  One couple even travelled from the Isle of Wight to attend.

Russell Woodham, Chair of the Society’s Hedgelaying section described the day:  “The hedge was not an easy one to tackle, consisting of Thorn, Hazel, Elder and a tiny bit of Holly!  However, after running through the basics we split up into groups to try and tame our sections.   The trainees pulled brambles, pleached, trimmed, tucked and bound for the morning until a whistle was blown to tell them that it was lunchtime and the time to stand back to assess what had been achieved so far.

Thankfully, the afternoon brought less bramble pulling and the trainees were able to see their workmanship taking shape and, as per usual, were surprised by the difference that a few hours of hard work can make to an overgrown tackled mess. The finished hedge was a credit to all, a big well done!

Special thanks to all who were involved.  Special thanks to Tim Russ for giving up his time to come along and to capture the event with his camera and to all the trainers who gave up their weekend to guide others in their craft. Russell, Tim, Nigel, Mandy, Kevin, Simon and Steve, thank you again for another great training day”

All trainees are encouraged to put their new skills into practice by entering the novice class at the annual Melplash Agricultural Society hedgelaying competition taking place alongside the ploughing match on Sunday 30th September at Urless Farm near Corscombe DT8 3SQ.  Spectators are very welcome to come along.

Lucy