Bodgers Ball 2018

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Bodgers Ball 2018 Logo


The 28th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Polelathe Turners and Greenwood Workers aka the 2018 Bodgers Ball will be held at the Weald and Downland Living Museum, Singleton, near Chichester on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018.




This site will be providing information, directions and updates for the ball as the planning progresses.

Update – I’ve added a Frequently Asked Question Page here hopefully it will answer your questions!

Introduction to the 2018 Ball

This year the Ball will be held at the Weald & Downland Living Museum (near Chichester ) on the 12th and 13th May with Pre-Ball craft courses running on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th and (subject to demand) on Monday 14th as well.

It’s seemed to me for a long time that the Weald & Downland Museum would be an excellent venue for a Bodgers Ball. Not just because it’s a beautiful site with an amazing collection of rescued buildings set in 50 acres of parkland nestling under the South Downs – but also because the Museum shares many of the same values as the APT&GW. (By the way – the Ball has been to the W&D Museum twice before – but as both events were in the last century I don’t think they really count?)

It turned out that the Museum’s Curator Julian Bell – who you may have seen at recent Bodgers Balls standing on a log swinging an axe or making chestnut gate hurdles – had been thinking the same along the same lines.

Normally a local group decides to take on the Ball and then starts looking for a suitable site. But in this case we had a venue but no local group. Now all we needed was some organisation. So we asked for some help and luckily Mike Gordon, Sue Reeve and Andrew Coleman offered to join our small band with lots of help and encouragement from the rest of the Sussex Group. Thank you all! We had our first meeting at the Museum’s Autumn Countryside show last October which has in recent years become a bit like a mini-bodgers-ball. Back then it all seemed suitably far away in the future that anything was possible. Now I am writing this for the Gazette, it’s all starting to get up-close and personal. That’s not to say it’s all hard work and no fun along the way. The team has struggled dutifully to sample food from prospective stalls at the Autumn Show. And a brewery visit to my local microbrewery, Langhams, was another highlight.

As usual you can look forward to the regular activities including the Half Hour Challenge, Team Log to Leg Race and Individual Log to Leg Race. The popular Egg and Spoon Race will also run (pun intended). Hopefully the Ball Stool Challenge will entice you to take part either as an individual or as part of a team.

A bit about the Museum

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum opened to the public in 1970 displaying a number of buildings which had been acquired, dismantled, brought back to the Museum site and re-erected.

The Museum founders were horrified at the wholesale destruction of traditional timber-framed buildings during the post-war redevelopments of the 1950s and 60s, with the last straw being ‘the fires of Crawley’ where many town centre buildings were knocked down and simply burnt to make way for soulless concrete replacements.

Rescuing buildings where they could, the Museum founders established a precedent which continues to this day, that we are the Museum of last resort for vernacular, (mainly) timber-framed buildings from the South East of England.

Those parts of our buildings which couldn’t be re-used, or items which we found within during dismantling, formed the nucleus of our artefact collection which now numbers some 16,000 objects. Ever since the first buildings were acquired, the general public has donated myriad items to the Museum, covering building parts, trade tools, agriculture, land management, transport and a variety of other rural trades and crafts. Where possible, items from the artefact collection are physically used around the site, so that visitors will see our team of heavy horses pulling carts, wagons and other agricultural equipment, the historic timber crane is in frequent use in our working Woodyard and many of the buildings contain collection items.

You can find out a lot more about the Museum on the website (

Access to the Ball and Pre-Ball courses

As the event is on the Museum site we will need to manage access to the site. Access for those booked onto courses will open on Wednesday afternoon and access for those booked for the Ball will be from Midday on Friday.

The ball on Saturday and Sunday will be open to the public. The Museum will also be running a programme of events over the weekend – including a charcoal earth-burn – so there will be plenty to keep visitors occupied in addition to the Ball.

On entering the Museum site there will be ‘APT&GW’ signs directing you to turn RIGHT around the perimeter road to reach the event field. Do not turn left towards the Museum car park. Please display a copy of the Ball logo (or a simple written sign reading APT&GW Bodgers Ball 2018 ) to help the Museum identify those arriving for the event. We will have a check point operating at the entrance to the field to help you get to the right pitch. The Museum is open to the public so please take care when driving to and from your pitch.

Bring it – Show it – Do it!

We want as many people to bring things, show others what you do and most of all doing it so as we can see get it! It’s all about learning and sharing skills at all levels of ability. If in doubt – BRING IT and DO IT! One of the best things about the Ball is the sheer diversity of people and their skills (or lack of in my case) and activities. You are the Ball. If you don’t bring it and do it – it will be a lesser event. We will provide some wood to work with and also some poles and blocks for chopping. Let us know if there is something else you need to do your thing and we will try to help.


There will be a full programme of invited and ad-hoc demonstrations on the Saturday and Sunday. If you plan to be doing something and want people to know about it – tell us and we will let people know when and where.


The field layout means we can’t use a simple circle or horseshoe of pitches. The more active pitches will be closer to the marquee. If you want to be located close to the marquee please let us know so we can take this into account. Similarly if you’d prefer to be at the back – we can try to arrange that as well!

Food, Drink and Entertainment

The tea-coffee corner will be available from early morning as usual. Please remember to bring some biscuits for Peter’s biscuit box. We have booked food vendors for the Friday and Saturday evenings. The Museum cafe and restaurant will be open during Museum opening hours and there are pubs/restaurants in the villages of Singleton and West Dean a short walk from the museum site. Our members’bar will be open from 6.00 pm to 11:00pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening serving local beer and cider.

Acoustic Entertainment on the Saturday evening will be masterminded by our very own Lee Southall so bring it along and play it!


The price of the ball is kept very low because it’s run by volunteers. Please accept that by coming to the Ball you agree to volunteer some of your time. Many hands make light work – there are plenty of jobs to sign up for, the volunteer sheets will be at reception. Please make sure you do your bit to keep the price low and run by volunteers.

If you would like to arrive early and help us with setting up the event – please feel free to contact us via the contact page on the website < >

What to Bring?

If you haven’t been before then it’s wise to bring something to sit on, eat from, drink from, sleep in/on and shelter in. Preferably made from wood.

What to leave behind? Nothing! Clearing up other peoples rubbish is a thankless task, so please make it easier by taking it all with you.


Plenty of camping space available. You can camp with your pitch or if you need more space then there will be a camping area towards the back of the field. Large and/or heavy vehicles will be located separately.

Programme of Events.

All the usual ingredients will be there. But not necessarily in the usual order.

Wednesday PM: Site opens for Pre-Ball course attendees and tutors.

Thursday: Courses all day. In the evening the bar will be open for Pre-Ball course attendees and tutors and there will be a bring and burn BBQ available.

Friday: Courses all day. The site opens for the Ball at Midday. Bar open and food available in the evening

Saturday and Sunday: see the Ball Weekend Programme (somewhere close in this gazette) for details. It’s provisional as we reserve the right to change it!

The Boring Bits

The Museum has asked us to use Wristbands – we will issue them on arrival and you do need to use them – it helps the Museum stop people trying to visit without paying.

Vehicle Movements during Museum opening hours – will be restricted on Saturday and Sunday. If you need to use your vehicle during the day you will need to park it in the main overflow carpark adjacent to the event field.

Leaving Early on Sunday? – if you need to leave before 4pm on Sunday please let us know as vehicle movements will be restricted on the main event field.

Site Rules

  • Absolutely no chainsaws.

  • No power tools (check with Alan Reeder first if you want to use any power tools) but as many sharp edged hand tools as you can muster!

  • Dogs are welcome – but must be on leads at all times

  • Cooking fires only – which must be sufficiently raised off the ground to avoid damage to the sward in the field.

  • Wristbands will need to be worn and the Ball logo (or similar) displayed in vehicles

  • No Smoking Site – the Museums main public area is a ‘no smoking site’, smoking is permitted ‘off site’. If this is a problem, please talk to us and we will be happy to explain this.

  • If you or your guests do not behave in a reasonable and polite manner or observe the site rules this may result in you being asked to leave the Museum site.

  • Most of all – Have Fun!


Back soon………..