Top female axemen competes in Glenreagh

Ashleigh Heath after she made it into the 300mm Underhand Handicap Final at the Glenreagh Timber Festival wood chop.
Ashleigh Heath after she made it into the 300mm Underhand Handicap Final at the Glenreagh Timber Festival wood chop. Caitlan Charles

New Zealand's female woodchopping champion Ashleigh Heath has made her way down under and had nothing to prove at the Glenreagh Timber Festival.

First taking the block when she was 15 after watching her dad compete for years.

The now 23-year-old said even though she is a woman competing in a male dominated sport, she finds the woodchop very inclusive.

"Everyone is really happy that I'm still competing and stuff, it's kind of a bit of a joke when I beat them," she said.

"I really like the people and that, I've never really come across anyone who hasn't made me feel wanted or anything."

Ms Heath said proving that she can compete is what drives her to keep chopping.

"Because I'm quite little for a wood chopper, so to be out there with all the big boys, and chop against all those big manly men."

Ms Heath has been competing for the New Zealand women's woodchop team for the past four years.

"I'm currently number one in New Zealand and I have been for four or five years and I think currently I'm number 2 in the world," she said.

"Because Sydney (Easter) Show is kind of the big thing for New Zealand, well everyone, so the American's and everyone come over as well.

"Last year I won the Women's Championship and this year I came second."

Ms Heath has no plans to stop chopping either.

"It's just so different, like I play hockey and netball as well and it's just not the same, the amount you need to push yourself and just get fit for the sport."

"But like at the end of the season, after we've had Adelaide... and after Sydney Show and that you just get so fit.

"It's awesome fitness, you don't cut for every long but when you do it ruins you."

Ms Heath said she is now lives in Bellbird near Cessnock with her partner who is an axemen on the NSW team.

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