Hedgesteeping Competition

By Chris Baker


Storm Callum’s last gasp threatened but did not deliver and our annual hedge-laying competition was a winner. There were a few showers and a few gusts of wind at East Fingle Farm, Drewsteignton, but the worst of the weather came just before and just afterwards. About 200 yards of hedge was laid in the novice, intermediate, and in the top-end open classes, and each competitor’s section proved to be a class act.

The results:

1st Colin Clutterbuck
2nd Terry Coombe
3rd Colin Risden

1st Dave Brackley
2nd Malcolm Dowling
3rd Gary Moore

1st Mark Joynes
2nd Richard Clayson
3rd Alex Clayson

Ladies Cup: Tina Bath

Jack Connabeer Cup: Chris Stanton

Competitors in Saturday’s event came from as far away as Brighton and the Forest of Dean, as well as Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset – thanks for coming and thanks for a fabulous hedge. Thanks too to farmer Louise for making the facility available, it was great to hold the competition at such a well-maintained farm. Thanks also to Don, who did the lion’s share of the organising. Catch-up with Don’s interview on BBC Radio Devon’s Breakfast Show on Saturday morning at: https://bbc.in/2OZ9vRy (at about 69 minutes). We must be doing something right, the running order for Radio Devon’s 8 ‘o’ clock news bulletin on competition day had DRST ahead of Strictly.


DRST Hedge Steeping Competition

Just a quick reminder that this Saturday 13th of October is the DRST Hedge Steeping Competition! The competition finishes at 2:30pm to allow time for the judges to assess the hedges. This is then followed by the prize giving.

It is at East Fingle Farm, Drewsteignton, EX6 6NJ.

Sorry, no dogs as there will be sheep in the fields.
If you are a competitor entering the Open or Intermediate Classes we suggest you bring a crowbar or metal spike to make holes for crooks as the ground is very hard. Ladders not required this year
Best wishes from Don Gaskins


Two day hedge steeping course

Due to a last minute cancellation the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project have a space available on their two day hedge laying course on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd of September (this week!). The course is instructed by DRST instructor Jeremy Weiss and is at Scorriton. Contact David Attwell for details: 01822 890912 or Jeremy Weiss on: 07962 432317.

The next DRST hedge course with spaces available is on the 3rd of November.


Some news from our trainee, Justin Clifford…

Dear all,

Thank you very much for those who have been in touch asking how things are going post my operation on the 9th August. It is really humbling to get your messages they are very much appreciated. Some of you have known me now for coming up to 3 years and know that I am someone who does “nothing” not very well! My recovery is very much testing this attribute that seems to have been left out of my DNA – However I am doing what the Doctor ordered!

My surgery was just over 3 hours in length and am advised that it was a bit of a stitching, breaking and sewing exercise for my surgeon. There is very little to play with at the lower end of the body as you will appreciate. My left foot has been completely detached and reattached moving tendons from toes to heel was just one aspect of the surgery as was completely re building and shaping my heel bone – we really are blessed with world leading surgeons in retrospect.

From what I can remember in the recovery room and on rounds my surgeon was very pleased with how things from his perspective have gone – very reassuring indeed. He is 80-85% sure I will get back to running but has explained that my ultra distance running may be part of my history. Not good news but taking the positives that does mean I should be back running at some point. Projected plan is to be running at 6 months.

I have already been back to hospital since my op and have seen the surgeon who is very impressed with how well I am recovering from a clinical perspective. I have also seen the physio and he concords with the surgeon also.

I am now out of the traditional “pot” and have been put in a state of the art adjustable plastic boot (looks like a ski boot). My foot until a couple of days ago was set at 30 degrees but has been increased by 10 degrees given my progress. I am still on sticks and none/part weight bearing. I need to get my foot to 90 degrees before the physio can get to work on me. That should take another 4-6 weeks if all goes well.

Thereafter it is hoped that I will be able to weight bear on the boot without the very contemporary sticks I’ve been given (I’m sure one of you could make these into a useful tool for me once I’m done with them!!!!!!). The sticks and boot definitely look like the past and future of medicine and rehab.

Prior to the surgery Richard advised me that I may also be able to access rehab services with Help for Hero’s as a veteran. I am in the process of submitting this as I know the military rehab will be far better than what the NHS can offer given the pressure on them; Richard…….many thanks for the advice.

It goes without saying I missing you all and missing the banter but am keeping a watchful eye on the website which is keeping me sane. My girlfriend may disagree – in fact she most definitely would do. She gave me the task of sitting on the grass the other day to paint a metal garden chair all day. Not the biggest highlight in my life but it was employment at least.

Well I will sign off for now and open up my new book entitled “A guide to Dry Stone Walling by Andy Radford” which will hopefully keep me inspired from the comfort of my sofa!

Onwards and upwards


Finishing the wall repairs at Mount Folly Farm, Bigbury-On-Sea

By Justin Clifford, DRST Trainee


Work started early on Monday morning before the sun and its Mediterranean temperates had time to start taking effect on work productivity. Those who have contributed to rebuilding and recommissioning this section of the Mount Folly Farm Wall will appreciate the added value this brings to the Farm its animals, livestock and the many visitors that walk along the permissive path on their way down to Bigbury who comment on this feature. Its completed 51 metre length is very impressive and can now be seen from the very tip of Burgh Island itself.


Much of the first day’s training was digging out the foundation and bedding in large stones that would act as both ground and below ground level foundation stones, upon which we were to build the Quoin, which I am really pleased and proud of.


This photograph shows the final aspect of the wall that we finished off as it leads up to and into the Quoin itself. It also depicts how the wall looks with the coping adorned to its top. It has to be said we had to be really creative with the stone we had left for the coping but we just about got there with a final harvest of stone from Farmer Tuckers quarry area.


The completed Quoin with a great feature top stone to finish it off.