A showcase of rare breeds at Weald & Downland Open Air Museum


- Credit: Archant

One of the South East’s most popular agricultural shows for rare and traditional breeds of farm animals will again celebrate the diversity of farm livestock this summer.

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum’s 29th Rare and Traditional Breeds Show will be held on its beautiful downland site on Sunday 20 July.

Smallholders all over the region are playing a vital role in nurturing rare and traditional breeds of livestock. Several hundred cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry of numerous rare breeds are expected to take part in the show which celebrates the qualities of the rarest of farm animals. The event has a strong following, both from exhibitors and visitors, who value its friendly, traditional atmosphere, set against the backdrop of the Museum’s beautiful downland location.

The event boasts some magnificent rare breed animals including Dexter cattle (smallest of the European Cattle breeds), Oxford Sandy and Black pigs (one of the oldest British pig breeds) and Polworth sheep (a breed developed in Victoria, Australia, during 1880). Old time farm animal favourites with visitors include the Pygmy goats, not much more than one foot high, and friendly-faced Alpacas.

The fleece and handspun classes have become incredibly popular and form an important element of the event. Most importantly, the next generation’s exhibitors and stockmen are actively encouraged to take part and compete for prizes which this year are being presented by Geraldine James, who narrated the commentary for the recent TV series “Tudor Monastery Farm” which was filmed at the Museum.

Other attractions at the event include a wide range of local crafts, trade stands with farm animal and countryside themes, locally produced food and the opportunity to look round the 45 historic buildings on the Museum’s 50-acre site.

The Museum is open for the event from 10.00am – 4.30pm (Museum open until 6pm) and every day this summer from 10.30am – 6pm. Normal Museum admission includes entry to the Rare and Traditional Breeds Show. The lakeside café will be open, plus there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas. Dogs on leads are welcome and there is ample free parking.