TRADITIONAL Dorset skills have not only been recognised but will be preserved and formalised for future generations – thanks to a group of West Dorset hedgelayers.

For the first time a Dorset class was included in the 35th National Hedgelaying Championships held on Lord and Lady Rothschild’s land at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.

Getting the recognition was thanks to the commitment and lobbying of West Dorset hedgers, led by Tim Frampton, Russell Woodham, Nigel Dowding and Kevin Goodfellow.

They are all members of the Melplash Agricultural Society who organise, judge and compete in the society’s annual hedgelaying match. They run training sessions throughout the year to teach people the Dorset-way of hedgelaying and also run a free training day for novices prior to the society’s annual competition to encourage new and young hedgers to take up the skill.

The numbers of people competing each year in the match is on the increase, as is the interest in the Dorset style.

There were more than 100 hedgers from all parts of the country competing at the Championship. The counties represented were the Midlands, Wales, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Wiltshire and Hampshire, West Moorland, Yorkshire, North Somerset, Devon and this year Dorset.

Each hedger had to lay a hedge of 10m in length made up of 90 per cent maple and 10 percent hawthorn.

The Dorset class had six entrants: Chris Claxton, Russell Woodham, Ed Goodfellow, Kevin Goodfellow, Tim Frampton and, Malcolm Dowling.

The judges were Kevon Rendell and Henry Selway and the Steward Jon Stockwell from Yarcombe, Devon.

The Dorset winners were: first Ed Goodfellow, second Russell Woodham and third Kevin Goodfellow Judge Mr Rendell said: “The Dorset-style hedgelaying which uses no crooks, no string or wire caused a lot of interest.”

Mr Rendell has now agreed with the National Hedgelaying Society to arrange a meeting in April to formalise the Dorset hedgelaying style for perpetuity. If interested contact Kevon Rendell on 01308 862538.