21st Annual Skills of the Hills" Event

Saturday 10th March 2018

At Cotley Farm, Wambrook, Chard. TA20 3EP

By kind permission of Mr Tom Eames & Family.

Hedgelaying Competition

The BHHA "Skills of the Hills" event is a hedgelaying competition but with many other attractions and activities included.

The Neroche Woodlanders from Young Wood will be a major part of the event again this year, providing a range of different activities for our younger spectators.

There will also be a treasure hunt style quiz for youngsters with chocolate treats for taking part and an Easter Egg prize for the winner at the end.

Craftsmen from the local area will be demonstrating green woodworking skills making items with materials from the hedgerow and coppice. There will also be a demonstration of turf banking being used to restore a damaged section of Devon bank.

An expert guide will be on hand to walk around the competition, talk you through the Devon style of hedgelaying and describe what the competitors are doing.

Members of the Community at Stentwood Farm will be providing some live music during the day.

Smeatharpe WI

Hot Food & Refreshments

There will be good hot food and refreshments provided by the legendary Smeatharpe WI. Those who have visted our events in the past will know that they need little introduction for the quality of the food on offer, the friendly service and the unique atmosphere of the dining tent.

Cookery Competition

There is also a free to enter cookery competition open to all. More details below.

Stands & Stalls

We will have the normal mix of rural skills and trade stands that everyone has come to expect at a country fair. The emphasis will be on hedgerows and trees but the range of attractions will cover much more.

Entry Form

Hedgelaying Competition

We have added a new class to the hedgelaying competition starting this year: Intermediate Pairs. The original "Pairs" class is now the "Novice Pairs" which is designed for those who have only learned the skill this season or are very inexperienced cutters. Previous winners of the old Pairs class will now compete in the new "Intermediate Pairs" (as will a collection of "the usual suspects" - you know who you are!).

So, from this year, there will be five classes in the competition: Novice, Novice Pairs, Intermediate Pairs, Intermediate, and Open.


Prizes will be awarded for the first four places in all classes:

Open Class 1st £60 & the Percy Duck Challenge Cup
2nd £40, 3rd £25, 4th £15
Intermediate: 1st£50 & the Dugdale Cup
2nd£35, 3rd £25, 4th £10
Intermediate Pairs: 1st £40 & Trophy
2nd £30, 3rd £20, 4th £10
Novice: 1st £40 & Trophy
2nd £30, 3rd £20, 4th £10
Novice Pairs: 1st £40 & Trophy
2nd £30, 3rd £20, 4th £10
Roger Vickery

Other awards will include:

  • The John Coombes Memorial Shield will be awarded to the best competitor aged under 19 years.
  • The Natwest Cup will be awarded to the best competitorwho is a member of a YFC.
  • A special cup will be presented to the best local competitor living withing the boundaries of the Blackdown Hills AONB.
  • A special cup will be presented to the best lady competitor in any class.
  • The BHHA "Golden Crook" will be awarded for the best work on a poor length of hedge.
  • The Colin Clements Veteran's Trophy this year for the best competitor over the age of 60.
  • The Roger Vickery Regrowth Cup will be presented to the competitor/pair in last year's event judged to have laid the hedge showing the best regrowth.
  • "Newcomers" prize in the Novice class for the highest place competitor who has embarked on their hedgelaying training this season.

Hedges laid in the competition will be on a bank should be done in the "Devon" style and secured using crooks.

A cutting fee of £15 will be given to all competitors/pairs who complete their allocated section of hedge including placed competitors winning other prize money.

Each competitor will also be given a food voucher for lunch (Soup, Burger, Cake, & a Hot Drink).


The entry form will be posted here early in the new year. Past competitors should receive one via email as soon as it becomes available.

There is no entry fee.

Once we have received your entry your name(s) should appear on the confirmed entries page. If you aren't there after a couple of days get in touch so we can find out what has happened.

Cookery Competition

Cookery Competition

The cookery competition is open to all and free to enter. We have expanded the main competition so it contains 9 classes this year. There are a further two for juniors (aged under 11).

"Open" Competition

Classes are:

  1. Quiche Lorraine
  2. Coffee & Walnut Cake
  3. Jar of Chutney (any type)
  4. Bakewell Tart
  5. Sloe Gin
  6. Half a dozen Home Produced Eggs
  7. Shortbread
  8. 2 Scotch Eggs
  9. 2 Devon Splits (what?)

If you are happy to donate your entries to the raffle please tick the box on the entry form on the day and accept our thanks.


  1. Edible Length of Devon Hedge
  2. 6 Rainbow Decorated Cupcakes

There will be certificates awarded to the winners of all classes and a trophy for the overall winner ("BHHA Masterchef").

Entries on the day to competition area by 12:45 please. The judging will start at 1pm.


In addition to our main class sponsors, the 2018 "Skills of the Hills" has also been generously supported by the following organisations:

More Information

If you have any questions or want more information on any aspect of the event please email Richard Hooker.

Affiliated to the National Hedgelaying Society