And the winner is...
My brother, Tim, is annoying in many ways. Believe me - I've had 27 years of having to put up with him! He's also annoyingly good at three things in particular; weaving, hedge laying and barrel rolling.
In Cambridgeshire there is an annual hedgelaying competition held at Wimpole Hall, a National Trust Estate. The competition is run by the estate's park ranger, Simon Damant. Simon is a treasured friend of the family (and drinking partner to Tim). He is also a long time sufferer of Tim's winning streaks at the hedgelaying competition. I say sufferer; Simon is the judge of the competition and it pains him to award Tim as the champion each year. He would so love to award the title to somebody else - but Tim's just too good. Simon was, however, in his words "rewarded" last year. For one year and one year only, he managed to award someone else as the winner. "Last year Tim lost out because I ferreted around in the bottom of his hedge as I had smelt a rat… indeed I was rewarded for my diligence in finding a pleacher that had broken off the stool, needless to say he didn’t come first".
Unfortunately for Simon, this year he was back to the usual presentation of awards through gritted teeth. "This year Tim drew a poor cant which made me think he wouldn’t be able to win this year either! However, as it turned out, he back laid a section to cover a gap to produce a very even hedge and the clincher was his excellent stake and binding – straight as a die and bound to perfection- so he was the clear winner of the South of England style".
The photo above: "Tim Radford’s most excellent stake and binding; nobody in all the years we have held the local hedge laying competition at Wimpole has been able to out do Tim’s ability to produce such straight staking and binding". -Simon
Jacob, who has now been working for Tim for 8 years, is also a keen and talented hedgelayer. The youngest of all the hedgelayers that enter the National Trust competition each year, Jacob demonstrates a consistently good understanding of hedge row maintenance and, like Tim, is known for his excellent, straight binding skills. Jacob has been entering the competition for 4 years now and is a vital member of the WonderWood team, with around 3000 metres of hedgerow to lay each year!
If you have always wanted to try your hand at hedgelaying, then contact Simon Damant, park ranger at Wimpole Hall National Trust Estate in Cambridgeshire. Simon runs two increasingly popular and fantastic courses a year and welcomes people of all levels, interests and backgrounds. Follow this link for more information.