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Thumbsticks - favoured by many countryfolk as they can be more useful than a walking or beating stick.

Thumbsticks are the longest of the sticks used in the countryside. You can make your own thumbstick, though it can take a long time as the stick needs to be seasoned.  With some wood (holly, blackthorn and other dense woods) this can take around 5 years.  So if you want a thumbstick for fairly immediate use or a thumbstick as present, buying one is the best option.

Thumbsticks will often have the lower section of the V carved out so that the thumb sits comfortably in it.  Not all thumbs are the same size but a few minutes with a round (not flat) wood file can make your thumbstick totally suitable.

The V of the thumbstick can be useful in other ways: pushing branches and brambles out of the way and for a colleague to grip just below the thumbstick V to help you up a steep bank.

Thumbsticks also seem to take the weight off your feet when waiting around!  You will see a lot of people with their thumb through the V and their leg on the side they are holding the stick is relaxed.  After a while they swap hands and legs.  They are simply letting their legs rest/recover.

Climbing steep hills is much easier when using a thumbstick as you pull down on it.  Even walking on flat ground sees easier as you swing your thumbstick.

Of course, any stick is useful for prodding soggy earth or a ditch, stream or puddle to see how deep it is. But as a thumbstick is longer than a conventional stick it can be easier to use.

Thumbsticks also double as flag sticks for some beaters - they carry a lightweight orange flag with them and slide the end of the thumbstick into the flag pocket.

Treated well a good thumbstick should provide many years of use.  My favourite thumbstick is not wholly wood .... the V top is antler and the stick is the one my father used for many years of beating, picking-up, shooting and walking his dogs.
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