Melplash Hedgelaying Competition 2017

The Melplash Hedgelaying Competition 2017 is to be held on Sunday 24th September at Shedbush Farm, near Bridport, Dorset, DT6 6EP. (Not to be confused with The Melplash Show itself which is at West Bay Bridport on Thursday 24th August….) The hedgelaying event combines with a ploughing match. Entries close on Wednesday 20th September.

Details are available from and follow the links. The e-mail address is: The Melplash Agricultural Society Secretary is Mrs. Lucy Hart.
The style is Dorset. There’s no entry fee. Cutters who complete receive £10.00 towards expenses. Prize money for all classes are £50, £40, £30, £15.
There is a free training day on Sunday 17th September 10.00 – 3.00 ‘just outside Bradpole, along Mangerton Lane, DT6 3SF’.
Details of Dorset style are available online at, for example, the NHLS and Russell Woodham’s.

DRST AGM and other news

The last course of the season treated us to absolutley stunning views and weather up above Bigbury on Sea – see the photos below. The next course will be Tool Sharpening on the 2nd of September. There are now only a few places available on this course so if you want to come, book now! On Wednesday coming (12th of July) it’s the AGM, if you havent been before it’s a good laugh and well worth coming. Hope to see you there.

Cob building at Velwell Orchard

By Gavin Young

Velwell Orchard was a picturesque setting for the cob walling course early in June where a small group prepared to learn how to source, mix and lay mass cob and cob bricks.
The weather was fine as Jeremy took us through the stages of digging out the clay and subsoil that was to be the main ingredient for our cob. We kept our wellies on to mix it all together – this can be done bare foot, but we didn’t fancy taking on the sharp shillet fragments unprotected.
After we had produced our cob, we made patties which we applied to the wall and then used our feet again to stamp it down. Another method of cob walling is to make cob bricks in a mould. We made some fine bricks and laid a few, completing the job with some cob mortar which we made by crushing and sieving a dried portion of the cob mix.
Undeterred by the early afternoon rain, we all enjoyed learning a new skill and were pleased with the progress we made on our piece of cob wall.
The next course is Dry Stone Walling at Higher Badworthy on the 17th of June with Dave Dingle.

DRST finally arrives in the 21st Century!

So finally the moment has arrived… The Devon Rural Skills Trust has moved to an online booking and payment system!

Mick Godfrey, who has served faithfully as bookings secretary for the last 10 years, has now hung up his pen and stowed his book, and Jeremy Weiss has taken his place with the daunting task of managing the new online bookings. We owe Mick a massive thankyou.

Richard Hooker (winner of the DRST Hedgesteeping Competition 2015) has done an amazing job of redesigning the website to accept the online payments and we are greatly indebted to him for this.

From now on you can book and pay for your courses at the click of a button. You can use your debit or credit card, or PayPal account if you prefer. The system works well from computer, tablet or phone. To get started just go to the DRST webite at:

Turf Hedging at Culvertor Farm

After a wet week, the sun shone all day long for us which was just as well as turf hedging in the wet is no fun at all.

A small but loud and hard working group set to with diggers and mattocks to cut the bank back and by lunch time a great deal of work had already been acheived in building the newly faced turf bank up.

By the end of the day, thanks to a willing workforce and perfect turf we had completed a significant stretch of bank some 35 yards in length.

Next course is Stone Facing with Bruce Baker at Shaugh Prior on the 8th of April.