The Wessex Hash and Trail Laying Guide


The Wessex Hash

The Wessex is a family Hash and runs every Sunday starting promptly at 11:00 am (10:30 on some special occasions).

All runs are from pubs/clubs, providing some much-needed refreshment at the end of the run for those who survive!  “Hares” lay trails and the “Pack” seeks and follows the route.  Each week is a different route and a different hare and is a wonderful way to experience the area.

Every week we provide two runs; the ‘Mini’ being between 3-4 miles of easy-going trails, and the ‘Main’ being a more demanding 6-7 miles over challenging terrain.

We suit a wide range of abilities from marathoners and joggers to walkers and after every run, we get together over drinks to review the run and award suitable light-hearted punishments for misdemeanours made.  This usually takes the form of the traditional Hash ‘Down-Down’ a ceremony where the offender is subjected to choral harassment before their peers followed by enforced drinking of a suitable beverage.

It’s all good, clean fun (well, not always clean!) with no politics or officialdom, so why not get out and join us this weekend?  Equipment needs are modest and indeed the wearing of new kit or running shoes is often the cause of a ‘Down-Down’.

Visitors (hashers and non-hashers) are charged £2.00.

Trail Laying Tips

Whilst hashing famously has “no rules” laying a good trail can be helped with these friendly hints

  1. Choose a pub – Ask the landlord/lady if they can cope with about 30 cars and 40 to 50 thirsty people.  If possible can toilets be available before the run.  Clubs, homes and other venues can be used but pubs are more usual venues.
  2. Signs – It helps to use HHH signs to get everyone to the rendezvous point (RV). (See hint 12)
  3. Maps – an Ordinance Survey map of 1:25000 scale will show items such as hedgerows, footpaths, bridleways and public rights of way.  In addition to this Googlemaps and Streetmap can help and the site Dorset Rights of Way can be invaluable for unearthing little known paths and planning a route.
  4. Walk the route – working off the planned route walk the trail and ascertain that routes still exist and where false trails might be added.  Several such visits might be needed.
  5. Distance – aim for a main trail of about six miles and a mini of three miles to provide a hash of about 90 minutes duration. The Map My Run site provides an easy way to estimate distance on a map to aid planning.
  6. Lay the trail – the day before the hash is probably the best time and will allow for some last minute alterations if required.  A single hare will not be able to control a whole trail and on the main a front and tail end hare should be used, thought a single mini hare is usually sufficient.  Co-hares should ideally have been involved in the planning and trail laying phase.
  7. Get away – from the RV as soon as possible to avoid confusion and use the right hand side of roads if required to run on them.
  8. Pace – Easy to find dust will speed up the pace of a hash and trickier to find dust will tend to slow the pace.  Aim to keep the pack as together as possible but still moving swiftly.
  9. False Trails – use of false trails will help to entertain the front running b’stards (FRB’s) and stop them getting too far ahead of the more moderately paced pack.  A line of dust should terminate false trails; it would be bad form to have more than three blobs of dust leading to a bar.
  10. Checks – a circle of dust at a point where several paths might be followed can be used and is a good way of bringing the pack together.  However avoid overuse and when possible mark and bar the resulting false trails.
  11. A good hare – can let the pack run the trail with minimal interference and is there only to troubleshoot or encourage stragglers.
  12. Signs – used on the trail should always be collected and handed on to the next hare.


(Not hashing rules as such, but we hash in a wider society and they have rules)

  1. Always seek the permission of the landowner whose land you are on and even if there is a “Right of Way” informing the landowner will avoid ill-feeling towards the hash
  2. Walk, rather than run, where there are cattle, horses, sheep and other livestock which might be stressed
  3. Adhere to the Highway Code
  4. Adhere to Country Code.
  5. Avoid walking on crops or planted areas and use field edges where a clear path does not exist
  6. Dogs must be leashed and controlled except on open heathland


Arrow – Used to direct Hashers without needing to check for example at road crossings or to inform back markers

Check – Where several trail choices are available a check will encourage the pack to split up and try them all

On-On – Used to mark the trail

Bar – Hashers should not cross a bar and therefore it is used to “bar off” or terminate a false trail. Usually preceded by one or two (no more than two) blobs of dust. Occasionally you may need for the trail to go only in one direction for example where the on-in might conflict with the on-out near the start/finish and might need to use a One-way Bar

Fish Hook – On long droves or stretches this little used mark will cause the front runners, how many is determined by the number, to turn back and run round the rearmost hasher on the trail

Others – Letters spelled out with dust on the trail can include “L” for long, “S” for short to make sure the mini and the main follow the correct trail and occasionally “SC” to indicate a short cut for back markers to help them keep up with the pack. Should the hare wish to make use of any other trail markings they must introduce them at the on-out to avoid too much confusion. Small printed and painted signs are sometimes used both on the trail and to guide hashers to a venue and hares must be sure and retrieve them

Other hashes might use different marks so hares should make sure visitors from other hashes are happy with the Wessex markers

If after all this you think trail laying is for you speak to the Hare Razor.