2010 competition

The 2010 competition was held on Saturday 27 February 2010 at Kings Manor Farm, Freshwater by kind permission of Mr and Mrs J Sheldon.

Lead sponsors in 2010: Landscape Therapy; Isle of Wight Council; West Wight Landscape Partnership; IW AONB; Hants & IW Wildlife Trust

The wide drive that sweeps down to the historic farmhouse at Kings Manor Farm in Freshwater is lined with hedges planted in 2001, which are now coming up to a suitable size to be laid for the first time. So at the invitation of landowners Mr and Mrs Sheldon the IW Hedgelaying Competition was held at Kings Manor on Saturday 27 February. The competition not only boasted its largest ever number of entrants - 24 pitches - but also the first mainland entrants were warmly welcomed by the locals. Wolverhampton-based hedgelayer John Dunbar traveled down the enter the competition, and a team was entered from mainland-based charity the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species - although as a major Island landowner they are no strangers to the island's hedges and woods.

The competition was lively, with a number of new faces in the ranks as well as some with points to prove from previous years! In the Team class the notorious 'Wench layers' returned for their fourth consecutive attempt to lift the trophy, and finally found success, taking first place with a massive 15 points over the second placed Isle of Wight College (1) team. Last year's Novice class winner Richard Temple successfully defended his title, with last year's team winner Peter Smith taking second by four points. More interesting was the glut of newcomers further down the class. Perhaps these were encouraged by the training session held a few weeks prior to the competition, sponsored by the West Wight Landscape Partnership. If these novices keep up their craft the influx of new hedgelayers certainly bodes well for future competitions.

The class that everybody was watching was the Open, as last year's champion Paul Davis chose not to defend his title, leaving the class wide open. Mainlander John Dunbar was an unknown quantity as nobody had seen his work before, and a few of the local competitors could be seen giving Mr Dunbar's hedge very careful study. But as it turned out it was the local hedgelayers who took the top places, with Oz Hoskyns returning to form and taking third place, separated only by the judge's decision from Tom Murphy who took fourth place with the same score. In second place, as in 2009, Sean Adams once more showed himself to be one of the Island's best hedgelayers - this time leading third and fourth place by a single point. But to great applause from the spectators the overall winner, by a single point, was announced as competition stalwart Rob Richards, who not only took the Open trophy for the first time but also retained the Hand Tools trophy, having used hand tools throughout.


Open Class Novice Class Team Class
1st Rob Richards Ric Temple The Wench Layers (Leigh Taylor, Matt Gustar, Nat Purcell, Di Simmons)
2nd Sean Adams Pete Smith IW College (1)
3rd Oswald Hoskyns Alex Holmes Geoff Scott, Karl Dyson, Steve Millis

Tom Murphy

Colin Lazell PTES (Ian White, Steven Oram, Zoe Roden)
5th Dick Pulleine Jamie Marsh IW College (2)
6th James Cook Simon Creed Dunsbury Farm (Patrick Seeley, Paul Johnson, Jim Valentine)
7th Robin Lang Paul Trickett Green Gym (2)
8th John Dunbar Jim Clinton Green Gym (1)
9th - Simon Perry -

Winner of the W Hurst & Sons cup for the best hedge laid with hand tools:

Rob Richards (for the third year in a row!)

Winner of the Wight Wildlife Award given in recognition of a valuable contribution to hedgerow conservation on the Island:

Tony Ridd of Landscape Therapy. Special award - the trophy is being retired this year and will be replaced by another one next year. So Tony gets to keep it.

The Peter Tunks £20 note trophy

An unexpected trophy was presented on the day by former supreme national champion Peter Tunks, who awarded a £20 note for the straightest stakes and binding. The winners were the Wench Layers.