6 of the best things to see at Dorset County Show 2016

Show jumping is one of the highlights of the County Show

Show jumping is one of the highlights of the County Show - Credit: Archant

From dancing heavy horses to a parachute display team, this year’s Dorset County Show offers lots of exciting new events for visitors to enjoy on 3 – 4 September

1. The Red Devils

The Red Devils – the British Army’s Parachute Regiment Display Team – will be dropping in to the Dorset County Show’s Main Ring this September. They will be performing a spectacular display above the Main Ring on both show days. The County Show is just one of 60 venues across the UK where the team will be performing their thrilling display this year.

The team, which is manned by 12 serving soldiers from the Parachute Regiment’s three full time battalions, have all served a minimum of three years in a Parachute Regiment Battalion and have taken part in at least one operational tour of duty in the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan or Iraq.

Set up in 1964, the team have worked closely in the past with the United States Army Parachute Team, commonly known as the Golden Knights.

2. Back in time

To celebrate the Show Society’s 175th anniversary, The Dorset Watercress Company is building a feature in the Floral Pavilion of watercress beds since 1840. The company supplies this locally grown superfood to a broad range of markets including national supermarkets. Watch out for other exhibits around the Showground highlighting this special anniversary. For a full list of events go to website dorsetcountyshow.co.uk.

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3. Shopping@TheAvenue

Like the Dorset Artisan Tent, exhibitors at this exciting new marquee Shopping@TheAvenue have been specially selected to ensure an interesting selection of businesses. The marquee will be located in the centre of the main retail trade stand area.

4. Craft returns in the Dorset Artisan Tent

New for this year is the Dorset Artisan Craft Tent which will have local makers and producers displaying and selling their wares, ranging from ceramics to jewellery to textiles. The exhibitors represent some of the most exciting craftspeople from across the county and exhibitors are by invitation only and have been selected by a group of craft specialists.

5. Livestock

This year’s event features a range of new livestock classes. These include Belted Galloways, a cattle breed that originated in the south west of Scotland and are primarily raised for their quality marbled beef, although they are sometimes milked.

Closer to home, Portland Sheep, which date back to before the Roman invasion and are one of the most popular rare breeds for smallholders, will be well represented. Records show that in 1299 there were 900 Portland sheep on the Isle of Portland and there was a regular Portland Sheep Fair held every 5 November. By the 1840s there were four flocks of more than 1,000 sheep each on the island. However, by the early 1970s the breed fell out favour and there were less than 85 breeding ewes. Fortunately, stocks have recovered and there are now 250 registered Portland sheep breeders across the UK.

The County Show will also be hosting the Tamworth Pig Champion of Champions competition. Tamworths are one of Britain’s oldest native breeds and are closely related to the English forest pig.

Watch out too for the winners of the new Dorset Flock Competition, which is being judged on farm in June. Winners will be presented with their prizes in the Grand Parade.

And there will be a new show jumping competition. The Mogers Drewett Stick or Twist Stakes will take place on Saturday afternoon for the first time ever in the UK.

6. Heavy Horse Musical Drive and Heavy Horse Village

These gentle giants will be performing a Musical Drive in the Main Ring as well as having their own classes. Breeds which might be seen include Percherons, Ardennes, Suffolk Punches, Clydesdales and Shire.

The horses will be traditionally turned out with their manes and tails braided and their drivers will be elegantly dressed. Set to stirring traditional music, the Musical Drive will involve complex moves including figures of eight and scissor movements.

When not in the Main Ring, the horses will be in the Heavy Horse Village where you will be able to get up close and admire these fantastic animals.

Dorset County Show 3-4 September - Early bird tickets for the show are available at just £11 per adult – children go free – until 31 July. After this tickets will be £13 and £16 on the day at the Show gates. Tickets are available from the Dorchester Agricultural Society, Agriculture House, Acland Road, Dorchester DT1 1EF or online at dorsetcounty.ticketsrv.co.uk.


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