Farmers out in force at South of England Show

Despite having faced the worst winter and spring weather on record, the strength of character of the farming community from across the South East will be in evidence at this year’s South of England Show on 6, 7 & 8 June.

Said Carole Hayward, Chairman of the South of England Show Committee, “The quality of British husbandry and farming is superb and the South of England Show offers the opportunity for members of the public to come and see first hand the work and dedication of our farmers who continue to prove that ‘British is Best’. 
Every day visitors will be able to see over 760 examples of beef & dairy cattle, sheep, pigs and goats on display and champions and owners alike will have their moment of glory in the livestock parade which takes place daily in the Ardingly ring.
As the Society’s chosen theme for 2013, Poultry will also be one of the central highlights of the show.  The official opening ceremony of the show will take place at the new ‘World of Poultry’ exhibition by President of the Society, Penelope Keith CBE DL, who is a great advocate of growing local and owns her own chickens.  She will be joined by President of the NFU, Peter Kendall, Jane King, Editor of Farmers Weekly and Nicholas Soames MP.
This fascinating new exhibition will focus on domestic poultry keeping, which is currently seeing an explosion in popularity in both urban and rural areas.  Visitors will have the opportunity to meet chicken breeds from ten countries, which live in the local area, as well as a large display of British breeds. 
Continued Carole Hayward, “The new ‘World of Poultry’ exhibit is a great opportunity to focus on the great breeding and animal care we have in the UK, of which we should be proud, and we are delighted that Fred Hams and Andy Marshall, leading domestic poultry experts, will be with us to share their expertise with poultry enthusiasts and those who are considering keeping chickens for the first time. Domestic poultry keeping is increasingly providing the education link in urban communities for people to understand where their food comes from.”
Over 1,500 horses and ponies will take part in the equestrian showcase that forms an enormous part of the three-day extravaganza. From the impressive heavy horse turnouts to the fast paced inter-hunt relay, spectacular show jumping to beautiful hackneys – there is something there for everyone.  Organisers are also delighted that the Shetland Grand National will be at this year’s show; many riders in this popular event have gone on to become successful professional jockeys.
The broad appeal of the show, however, hinges on a wide range of attractions outside the central agricultural and equestrian theme, including exciting displays such as daredevil stunts from Bolddog Lings Freestyle Motorcycle team, poultry herding in the main arena from Bob Hogg and his sheepdog and various competitions such as horse shoeing, flower arranging and the ever popular Young Craftsman of the Year competition.
Education is echoed throughout the showground and the Knowledge Box is an area for children and young people to learn about the countryside.  They will be able to quiz the experienced stewards on hand as well as take part in various activities including matching sounds of different kinds of fowl (ducks, guinea fowl, geese, pheasants and cockerel) to pictures, milking Buttercup the cow, listening to the Storyteller and contributing to the annual mural on the back of the marquee.
Children will also be able to learn about where their food comes from in the NFU Meet the Farmer area. Cookery demonstrations and tastings will be available from local farmers and food producers as well as plenty of opportunities to meet farm animals and other small furry friends across the show ground.
Demonstrations on woodland conservation by pupils from Bolnore Village Primary School, a Forest School, will be taking place in the Round House in the Wildlife, Farming and Forestry area will be taking place as well as fly fishing and falcon flying.  On the ‘Village Green’ children will also be able to enjoy a circus workshop, skittle alley and Zumba dancing.
The show offers entertainment, music and shopping galore for all the family and for foodies there is one of the most impressive food halls in the South East as well as a marquee dedicated to regional producers. 
Gates open at 9.00am and close at 6.30pm daily. There is FREE parking at the show and a regular bus shuttle service available from Haywards Heath train station to the showground.
For advance ticket discounts and full details visit or telephone 01444 892700.
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