TWO men from Dorset have finished first and second in the National Hedgelaying Championship 2023.

More than 100 competitors travelled from all over the country and overseas to compete in the 2023 National Hedgelaying Championship, which took place on Saturday, October 28, in Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

Among them was Tim Frampton, the Melplash Agricultural Society’s Hedgelaying and Ploughing Chairman, and Russell Woodham, the Society's Hedgelaying Chairman.

Each year the National Championship tests the skills of hedgelayers on ten of the main styles in current use including the Dorset-Style.  

There are more than 30 different hedgelaying styles altogether across the UK. 

A Dorset Hedge is normally laid on top of a bank.

It is kept low to the bank, tightly woven in with itself.

The Dorset-style hedgelaying category this year was won by Tim Frampton.

Russell Woodham finished close behind in 2nd place.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Russel Woodham was the runner-up of the Dorset-style hedgelaying championship 2023Russel Woodham was the runner-up of the Dorset-style hedgelaying championship 2023 (Image: Melplash Agricultural Society)

The Melplash Agricultural Society has championed Dorset-Style hedge laying and was instrumental in the style being included in the annual competition.   

The Society also sponsors the class.

Hedgelaying Chairman and Dorset Hedgelayer, Russell Woodham, said: “The Melplash Agricultural Society is totally committed to keeping this traditional skill alive. 

"We are fortunate to have a number of experts who are only too happy to pass on these traditional skills to others.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Russell Woodham competing in the hedgelaying competitionRussell Woodham competing in the hedgelaying competition (Image: Melplash Agricultural Society)

Mr Woodham has called on any one who wants to give the quirky competition a try to look out for upcoming training sessions.

He added: "For a number of years, we have held a free taster day in September prior to the annual Hedgelaying and Ploughing Match to give people the opportunity to learn how to lay a hedge, Dorset Style.   

"If you fancy the idea of learning, do lookout for training sessions run by committed professionals who practice the skill, then with hard work and dedication and a few hundred meters laid, you too could be competing and winning in the Nationals.”

The society also run their own annual The Hedgelaying and Ploughing Match, which has been going on for 176 years

To get involved in hedgelaying, contact the Melplash Agricultural Society on 01308 423337.