CROWDS crammed into Dorset Nectar cider farm in west Dorset to witness a perfectly unique competition.

More than 1,000 people ventured from all corners of the UK to enjoy an afternoon of cider, sun, live music and of course the main event – the World Nettle Eating competition.

As the competition kicked off, many opted for different techniques - some ate the leaves one by one, whilst others ate handfuls at a time and there was plenty of rolling, crushing and dipping leaves into cider.

After half an hour of very flushed cheeks and pained faces the time was up and the winners were crowned.

Huge crowdsHuge crowds (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Eating a staggering 116ft of Dorset grown stinging nettles, the male winner was named as Tom Wheeler who is originally from New Zealand and now living in London - he came down especially to take part.

Winner: Tom WheelerWinner: Tom Wheeler (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Upon his win he said: “It’s honestly amazing. I came second last year.”

It was a second time win for the women’s champion Bethan Hodges from Barry Island, Wales, who was crowned the nettle queen, chomping down on an impressive 64ft of nettles.

Last year, she managed a mind boggling 76ft of stinging nettle leaves in 30 minutes.

Ladies winner BethanLadies winner Bethan (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Bethan, who appeared thrilled with her big win, said: “I wasn’t expecting to win at all,” adding: “this year the leaves were really dry compared to last time.”

The event was opened by Bridport Town Crier John Collingwood, whilst storyteller and author Martin Maudesley was the host – cracking a number of jokes whilst competitors suffered.

Bridport Town CrierBridport Town Crier (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Nettles are cut into lengths of two metres and after the half an hour timer is up, judges count how many stalks each competitor has managed to eat.

At least two people were disqualified from the bizarre competition whilst one person dropped out on their own accord – although still enjoyed the free cider.

The unique event first started at the Bottle Inn in Marshwood as part of a charity beer festival and attracted world-wide attention.

(Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

More than 1,000 people sat around with friends and family at the Dorset Nectar farm on Pineapple Lane, Waytown to enjoy the event, as well as a great selection of live music on the day from Around Corners and the Skalatans.