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Laying a hedge, Dorset-style

It's a blazing hot, autumn day and I'm out here in the sunshine, my best man by my side, and we're laying a hedge.

A hedge. Me laying a hedge. My farming dad and grandfathers would be proud of me. Well, maybe not proud of the way I'm struggling to swing a billhook into the stem of this hazel. But perhaps proud of me for trying.

Each year, the Melplash Agricultural Society puts on the annual hedging and ploughing match. Next Sunday, it's at Chideock. It's a great day out for all the family. 

I'm taking part in a free, hedgelaying taster day at Mangerton Lane, near Bridport, where groups of up to four are being instructed in this age-old art by experts in the field.

It's a lovely part of Dorset, bordered by a line of beautiful, rounded hills running from Loders to Powerstock. It's an enchanted landscape where the swallows and swifts gather for the last hurrah before the long journey south.

A quick demonstration on the roadside hedgerow yields an empty vodk…

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