The South West of England has a proud Agricultural heritage which is celebrated in a series of traditional agricultural shows each year. North Devon is blessed with two shows just a week apart…the smaller Woolsery Show and the regional North Devon Show.
We regularly go to Woolsery Show on the last Monday of July. It is a delight, held in the grounds of Clovelly Court (confused?!) with fine views looking out over Bideford Bay. The show demonstrates animal husbandry and breeding; equine skills; rural and home-making crafts; agricultural heritage; food production and is a hot spot for retailers of all things agricultural and rural.
There is a constant buzz of sound over the loud speakers reporting on judging of animal breeds or rounds of show jumping; hot food smells waft temptingly across the field; young and old farmers are dressed up in white coats to parade their animals in the show rings; and, despite crowds of people and much poking and prodding from the judges, the animals keep remarkably calm…good job when there are some huge bulls and heavy horses in the field!
The show has many horse classes – judging conformation, style, jumping, driving, and the highly competitive Pony Club games.
Cattle are guaranteed – this year there were several beef breeds on show (Ruby Reds are the local Devon beef breed) and even a few diary cows (milking still has to be done at the show to keep the cows comfortable).
However, the most variety of breeds on show comes with the Sheep classes such as these white socked, black Zwartbles.
This is not a particularly commercial show and all the better for it…there are the usual agricultural machinery displays – bright shiny new gear for sale, and of course, the Vintage machinery which is purely to marvel over! Rural crafts; the essential WI tent with cake, floral and craft competitions; and excellent local foods for lunch ‘on the hoof’ are part of the tradition (hmmm jam packed steak pasty anyone?).
Last but by no means least, ‘One Man and His Dog’ is honoured with the dog classes and anyone can enter whether locals or visitors….all sizes welcome!