James Johnsen outlines our support for the countryside this winter

Church House has been as active as ever in the countryside this winter, in February sponsoring the Open Ditch at the CA Point-to-Point and the BSV Hunt Hedgelaying Competition, followed by the Restricted Race at the BSV Point-to-Point in March.

The emphasis on countryside activities reflects the enormous contribution these make to rural communities in the West Country and the many roles so many of our clients play in promoting and protecting them for future generations. So much of the conservation, sporting and social fabric that binds scattered communities together would simply crumble away without them, compounding under-appreciated problems of increasing rural isolation and social fragmentation.

We were therefore delighted to support the Countryside Alliance in “Giving Rural Britain a Voice” at one of their principal fund-raising events at Badbury Rings, near Wimborne. This attracted a terrific crowd of supporters from Wiltshire, Dorset, and Somerset with a fine day and some hotly-contested racing.

The once-almost-lost art of hedge-laying is actively promoted by many hunts and the sight of a well-laid hedge as opposed to something that has been massacred by a flail-cutter is a delight both to the eye and the wildlife habitats that are created.  Bill-hooks flying, the CH team (all previous Novice Cup winners) were commended for the job they made from the very unpromising ‘half-chain’ (9 metres) of straggly hedgerow they were allotted on a small farm in the heart of the BSV hunt country.

Finally, it was great to see so many friends and CH connections at the BSV Point-to-Point Races at Charlton Horethorne in Somerset where we were delighted to sponsor the Restricted Race i.e. restricted to horses that have qualified with neighbouring hunts.

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