A 'fantastic' day was had by all at the Melplash Agricultural Society’s annual hedgelaying and ploughing match.

It took place on a 60-acre plot of land at Higher Langdon, near Beaminster.

It has been 175 years since the first Melplash Agricultural Society’s ploughing match took place in Melplash.

To remind us all how land was ploughed at that time, and to mark the occasion, there was a demonstration of horse ploughing given by Mike Puxty with his shires Sam and Tilly. The time fixed for ploughing half an acre with horses was three-and-a-half hours.

The society says it is passionate about keeping the traditional skills of hedgelaying and ploughing alive and is fortunate to have many farming families in the area who, for generations, have been active in keeping up and passing on the skills.

Prior to the match, the society hosted a free hedgelaying taster day at which 21 people attended including 13 members of Beaminster Young Farmers, all of whom took part in the novice pairs competition on match day.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Melplash Agricultural SocietyMelplash Agricultural Society (Image: Melplash Agricultural Society)

Picture: Andy White

All classes were well supported and the competition was keen. Forty-one ploughmen and forty-four hedgelayers competed in the various classes, with competitors coming from as far afield as Hereford, Bristol, Cullumpton and Wellington.

“It was a fantastic day, and so good to see so many people coming to watch. Thank you to everyone who made the day possible -- the landowners, the stewards and helpers, the competitors and the judges. The annual hedgelaying and ploughing match is always an important day in the Society’s Calendar. As well as marking the start of the Society in 1847, it gives all of us who work on the land an opportunity to show others our skills and the pride we have in the work we do. Winning of course is a bonus and a position we can enjoy until next year!” Said Society Match Chairman, Tim Frampton.

The society thanked Tessa MacKenzie-Green and Richard Peck, Sentry Farms, for use of their land.

The prizes were presented by the Society President, Nigel Jones.





Mr Michael Hole

Mr Austin Yeatman

Mr Malcolm White

Mr Roy French

Mr Robert Dimond

Mr Martin Jennings 


Class 8 - Vintage Trailed:

1st          Ian Craddock

2nd         David Cobb

3rd          Brian Johnston


Class 9 - Vintage Hydraulic

1st          Andy Westcott

2nd         Michael Symonds

3rd          Geoff Fry



Trophies & Special Prizes

Champion Vintage Ploughman and winner of The Jack Dare Memorial Trophy – Ian Craddock

Best Strike Out in Vintage classes – Ian Craddock

Best Finish in Vintage classes – Brian Johnston

Champion Ploughmen in Vintage and match ploughing classes & winner of the Blandford & Webb Perpetual Challenge cup – Ian Craddock

Best Ins and Outs in classes – Andy Westcott


Class 11 - Classic Tractor & Plough (without Q cab)

1st          David Rae and winner of the Tony Ascott Perpetual Challenge Cup

2nd         Colin Hawkins

3rd          Tony Ascott


Class 12 - Tractor & hydraulically operated 2 or 3 furrow plough

1st          John Harris

2nd         Ted Yarde

3rd          Greg Smith


Class 13 – Tractor & hydraulically operated 4 or more plough

1st          Will Doble

2nd         Barry Dennett

3rd          John Shute


Class 14 – Contractor Challenge – reversible ploughs to use both left- and right-hand board

1st          Bernard Hayball and winner of Creed Brother’s Seaborough Salver

2nd         Erin Moon

3rd          Noah Doble


Trophies & Special Prizes

Winner of The Streatfeild Perpetual Cup to Best YFC Ploughman – Erin Moon, Marshwood Vale YFC

Winner of the Interclub Silver Perpetual Cup for highest placed YFC – not awarded in 2022

Champion Ploughman (Open) and winner of Col. Sir Stuart Mallinson cup – John Harris

Reserve Champion Ploughman (Open) – Bernard Hayball

Champion Ploughman (Local) and winner of silver perpetual Challenge Cup – Bernard Hayball

Reserve Champion Ploughman (Local) – David Rae

Best Ins & Outs - Bernard Hayball

Best Strike out - David Rae

Best Finish – Bernard Hayball & John Harris (joint winners)

Best Ploughing with Case International Case or David Brown with Kverneland Plough presented with Silver Perpetual Challenge cup and a voucher donated by GCS Agricentre – Bernard Hayball

Best Ploughing with Ford New Holland – Ted Yarde

Best Ploughing with a John Deere Tractor presented with a special prize donated by Hunt Forest Group, Dorchester – Colin Stacey

Sam Dennett Perpetual Memorial Trophy presented by the family for the best finish with a four or five furrow plough – Erin Moon


Novice Ploughman

1st Rodney Cuff

2nd Steve Donn

Best Turned-out Tractor & Plough presented with a bottle of whisky donated by Mr Roy Vickery – Trevor Miles.



Hedgelaying Judges

Mr John Vickery

Mr Ian Connibeare

Mr Roger Vickery

Mr Mark Tilley

Mrs Mandy Woodham


Flail Hedge Cutting Judges:

David Ashdown

Mark Vickery


Chainsaw Stewards:

Mr Kevin Goodfellow

Mr Chris Childs


Class 1 – Hedgelayer – Local & Open class

1st          Tim Frampton and winner of The Elizabeth Lady Williams Challenge Cup

2nd         Martin Turner

3rd          Colin Risdon


The Cecil A Marsh Challenge Cup presented to the Best Local competitor – Tim Frampton


Class 2 – Novice Hedgelayer

1st          Anthony Brown and winner of Marcus Beresford Trophy

2nd         Richard Baker

3rd          Graham Adams


Class 3 – Intermediate Hedgelayer

1st               Pete Etheridge and winner of Bodger John Trophy

2nd         Neil Gemmell

3rd          Owen Swatridge


Class 4 - Open Pairs

1st          Steven and Rosie McCulloch and winners of The Bartletts (Dorset) Ltd Cup

2nd         Richard Hooker and George Partridge

3rd          Roger Parris and Lynda Cregan


Class 5 - Novice Pairs

1st          Logan Hayball and Jack Ferret and winners of the Shedbush Farm Trophy

2nd         Rebecca Mather and Sophie Raymond

3rd          Amy Messer and Enya Hayball


Champion Hedgelayer and winner of the Silver Perpetual Challenge Cup presented by Cleeves & Edwina Palmer – Tim Frampton


The Philip Hardwill Trophy for highest placed Young Farmer – Owen Swatridge, Beaminster YFC


The Russell Woodham Bill Hook Trophy for best hand tool competitor – Robin Spanner


The Bill Hook Trophy for the best Lady competitor – Lynda Cregan


Tidiest Kept Site – Roger Parris and Lynda Cregan


Best work on a poor length of hedge – George Gorringe and Oliver Bagwell


Overall Best Veteran competitor aged 65 years and over – Colin Risdon


Mechanical Flail Hedge Cutting

1st                        Matt Frampton

2nd                       Richard Martin

3rd                        Richard Rowe