23rd Annual "Skills of the Hills" Event

Saturday 7th March 2020

Regency House, Hemyock. EX15 3RQ

By kind permission of Mrs Jenny Parsons.

Event Class Sponsors

Blamphayne Sawmills Cornish Mutual SheamusMachin MNR Mowers A&S Barnes and Sons
  • FREE Admission
  • Gates open to the public at 09:30
  • Hedgelaying Competition runs from 09:30 to 14:45.
  • Raffle draw and presentation of prizes follows.
  • Dogs welcome.
  • Includes the launch of the centenary appeal by the Hemyock Calf Club.
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 and their families.

There will also be a BHHA 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.

Smeatharpe WI

Hot Food & Refreshments

There will be good hot food and refreshments provided by the legendary Smeatharpe WI. Those who have visited 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 area of the main marquee.

Hemyock Calf Club

The Calf Club is the predecessor of the modern Young Famers Club (YFC). In fact, it only existed for a year before becoming the YFC and was founded 100 years ago in Hemyock. The celebrate this centenary, and in preparation for the YFC centenary in 2021, The Calf Club is launching a fund raising appeal at the event. Money raised will go towards a statue to be sited in the village.

Cookery Competition

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

Stands & Stalls

There will be mix of rural skills demonstrations and exhibitors as well as trade stands on the day.

If you would like to come along please email skills.site@bhha.info and we will get back to you.

Entry Form

Hedgelaying Competition

This year we will again have two pairs classes: Novice and Intermediate and with the usual singles Open, Intermediate and Novices.

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.

In addition there will be a £5 food allowance for every competitor.

There are five classes in the competition: Novice, Novice Pairs, Intermediate, Intermediate Pairs and Open.

Devon Style Hedgelaying Notes

Hedges laid in the competition will be on a bank should be done in the “Devon” style and secured using crooks. We have prepared a few notes on the Devon style of hedgelaying which you can download here. It gives some guidance on what the judges will be looking for in this competition.


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


1st – £50 & the Dugdale Cup

2nd – £35, 3rd – £25, 4th – £10

Intermediate Pairs:

1st – £40 & Trophy

2nd – £30, 3rd – £20, 4th – £10


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 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.

Entering the Hedgelaying Competition

Download and complete the entry form above and return it by post to the address given. Please read the conditions of chainsaw use and note that Novice and Pairs competitors won't be required or expected to use one.

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.


The site we are using this year has quite a complicated layout. Open and Intermediate class competitors should be able to take vehicles to their hedges without difficulty. Novice class competitors and those in both Pairs classes WILL NOT be able to take vehicles to their hedges. We will have several all-terrain vehicles and Gators available to ferry tools and belongings to and from the hedges. A wise precaution would be to have everything you need in one or more bags ready for transport on the day. The hedge is not very far away but competitor/spectator access is solely by foot.

Cookery Competition

Cookery Competition

The cookery competition is open to all and free to enter.

The "open" competition contains nine classes this year. There are a further three specially for juniors (aged under 11).

"Open" Competition

Classes are:

  1. Sloe Gin
  2. Jar of lemon Curd
  3. Half a dozen Home Produced Eggs
  4. 4 Cheese Scones
  5. 2 Sausage Rolls
  6. A Flavoured Loaf of Bread
  7. 4 Fruit Muffins
  8. Baked Custard Tart
  9. Chocolate Sponge Cake

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. 4 Cookies
  2. A Decorated Hard Boiled Egg
  3. An Edible Animal (not live!)

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 the sponsors of the competition classes, the 2020 "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