Looking Back: Great country pursuits at plough and hedge contest
Being from London, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for when I moved to Somerset. In my year-and-a-half here I have covered all sorts of news – from badly behaved criminals to the incredible hard work people put into raising money for charity.
But when I first moved down here I imagined it would be entirely stories like this one, which appeared in the Wells Journal on October 6, 2005:
David Webb, of Wells, carried off three prizes at the 136th Mendip Ploughing Society match and N F Clothier and Son, of Ston Easton, scooped first prize in the Best Collection of Winter Fodder.
There was a good turnout for this year’s event, held at Priddy Hill Farm last week.
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About 80 people entered the ploughing competition, which included vintage classes, a semi digger class and a reversible plough class.
Entrants were judged on criteria such as straightness, firmness and weed control and could only leave one wheel mark on their opponent’s site.
As well as the ploughing match there were hedging and stone-walling competitions and prizes for the best vegetables and fodder on display.
Colin Young won the prize for the heaviest pumpkin, which weighed in at 140 pounds.
The tallest sunflower reached a stately 138 inches.
Chairman of the Mendip Ploughing Society, Phil George, said: “It’s been a good day as usual.
“I’m pleased to say the event has got bigger over the years and we have some ladies competing too. There were two in the ploughing, two in the hedging and one lady stonewaller.”
Charlotte Hawkins, from Gurney Slade, won fourth prize in the hedging competition.
She said: “It’s hard work but I’m enjoying it.
“I started lessons in February with Frank Wear and Stewart Ford, of the Wrington and Burrington Hedging Society.”
The event is an enjoyable social occasion for everyone involved and many of the competitors had their families there supporting them.
Jim King, secretary of the Mendip Ploughing Society, said: “It’s been a highly successful day.
“We have been lucky with the weather so far and we have a very good crowd of people.”
Dave Perry, one of the team of stewards who helped the day run smoothly, complimented the spread of food in the beer tent.
He said: “They don’t use caterers, it’s all prepared by members’ wives.”