History of the Usk Valley Working Gundog Club

The Usk Valley Working Gundog Club was formed, as with many other clubs, by a few individuals interested in training their dogs to a reasonable standard. The 'roots' of the Club were planted back in the early 1990's when two couples, Ron and Barbara Hempstead and Pat and Howard Williams, met every week to train their dogs. These 'training sessions' took place on Ron and Barbara's ground at Cobblers Plain, which is not too far from Chepstow.

As the weeks and months passed so the 'training sessions' became more popular, expanding to such a level that the 'founders' decided a club should be formed. The club was formed and the inaugural meeting was held on Sunday, 29th March 1992, where the first committee was elected from those 'members' present at The Carpenters Arms in  Llanishen, near Chepstow.  The club was then registered with the Kennel Club, and at the time boasted some 50 members. The first Chairman was Ron Hempstead, the Treasurer was Pat Williams and the Secretary was Julie Hanks. From that humble beginning the club has gone from strength to strength and now has a membership approaching 550.

The Club was awarded field trial status in 1996 and ran its first Novice Retriever and Spaniel Trials the same year. In 2003 the Club ran its first Open Field Trial for Spaniels, followed in 2004 with its first one day Open for Any Variety Retriever. In 2009 the Club was granted permission to run its first 2 day Open for Any Variety Retriever, the first trial being run in 2010. As a club it still relates to its original concept, that of providing training for its membership. In the early days well-known trainers would be invited to come along to the club’s ground and give training lessons; these training events are as popular with the membership today as they were a decade or so ago.