Close attention to detail from a hedge-laying judge

Inspiring new book on Devon’s hedges to be launched as competitors battle it out

This year’s annual Skills of the Hills day, to be held in the Blackdown Hills on Saturday 7 March, features not only one of the biggest hedge-laying competitions in Britain, but also the launch of a new book, Devon Hedges.

The main event will be a hedge-laying competition where some of the best practitioners in the country will be demonstrating their prowess.  If you want to see masters of this ancient skill at work, this is the place to come.

As Prince Charles says in the foreword to the book, Devon Hedges draws together the sum of local and national knowledge on the importance of Devon’s hedges and, in particular, provides practical advice on managing them so they continue to provide farming, wildlife and landscape benefits.  It is expected that the book will be the primary source of reference on all matters relating to hedges in the county for many years to come.

Alongside the hedge-laying competition and book launch, a range of rural crafts will be on display, including green woodworking, charcoal burning and hurdle making. There will be plenty of interest for people of all ages with the Neroche Woodlanders providing children’s activities.

Rural skills

Martin Turner, Chairman of the Blackdown Hills Hedge Association, says:

This year we expect our Skills of the Hills event to be better than ever before.   Alongside novices, hedge-laying competitors include some of the very best in the country, including winners at both national and county events.  It is a chance for everyone to experience up close a wide range of the traditional rural skills that are such an important part of our heritage.

Robert Wolton, Chairman of the Devon Hedge Group and editor of Devon Hedges, says:

Our new book has been produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the Devon Hedge Group.  We are delighted that Prince Charles has provided the foreword, and we believe that this attractive book will rapidly become the standard source of information on Devon’s hedges, and of guidance on how to manage them.

Recent research carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has confirmed that the Blackdown Hills is among the very best areas in Britain for hedges, with on average over 11 km of hedge in every square kilometre, far above the national average.  The perfect place for the launch of Devon Hedges!

The event is being held at Gorwell Farm, Hemyock, EX14 4SR, by kind permission of Mr Malcolm Pulman, starting at 9.30 am.  It is organised by the Blackdown Hills Hedge Association.