A whole host of events on offer at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show


- Credit: Archant

The highlight of the summer, the New Forest and Hampshire County Show, is nearly upon us. Running from 29 -31 July, it is even bigger than last year with a packed programme of events - and so much to see, eat and do, you’ll want to visit every day

With a Hands On theme at this year’s show, it’s all about rolling up your sleeves, donning your walking boots and getting stuck into all the activities on offer over the three days. From milking a cow to making a scarecrow, holding a day-old chick or voting for your favourite feathered friend in the Poultry Tent, The New Forest and Hampshire County Show will turn everyone into a countryside expert for 2014.

With a new president, Tim Jackson, at the helm the emphasis is most definitely on keeping farming and countryside traditions alive.

“I am delighted to have been asked to be President of the 2014 Show and can think of no better year in terms of matching the chosen theme of Hands On with my own interests in food, farming, animal management,” said Tim, who is Principal at Sparsholt College.

“The land-based and food sector is a big part of the national economy and raising awareness of what is involved, from a really Hands On perspective, especially with children, is a great way to excite people’s interest. For most, this means encounters with the skills and crafts at The New Forest show which are not only exciting but also help to enrich understanding of this vital part of our national life. For some, it may also open their eyes to new lifelong interests and crafts - and perhaps even new careers.”

More examples of Hands On activities at the Show can be found at the Show Farm where visitors can get up close to all sorts of farmyard animals, or pop into the Countryside Area for Terrier and Ferret racing and get to grips with the traditional agricultural machinery in the Old Time Farming section.

The much-loved traditional Heavy Horse Musical Drive takes place in the Hoburne Ring every day and The Supreme Harness Championship, on Thursday 31st July, is once expected to draw the crowds.

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If all that doesn’t leave you completely exhausted, the shopping arcade is set to be bigger and better for 2014 with more opportunities to pick up a bargain.

We at Hampshire Life will have our usual stand, opposite the North Ring so do come and visit us for the chance to win a gourmet golf break at The Bell Inn in Bramshaw, bag yourself a free magazine and take up our fantastic one-off show subscriptions offer.

Headline Attraction

Five-times British Freestyle Motocross Champion, Jamie Squibb is returning to wow the crowds as this year’s fantastic headline act. “I can’t wait to be back at the New Forest and Hampshire County Show, it is one of the best Shows of the season,” said Jamie. “I’ve been practising hard and have some big and spectacular new tricks for everyone to see”.

Lasting around 20 minutes, Jamie’s incredible display will see him soaring up to 40ft in the air whilst performing a variety of hair-raising tricks.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see him master the Holy Grail of freestyle tricks, guaranteed to keep you entertained, and you get the chance to meet Jamie and the rest of his Squibbfreestyle team after each show.

Scarecrow Competition

Make the most of this year’s hands-on theme and head to The Forest Fun Factory section for the chance to win an array of prizes in the Scarecrow Competition. On the subject of reduce, reuse and recycle, The Forest Fun Factory will be asking visitors to create the best possible scarecrow using recycled materials.

There will be three categories: Animals, Sports and Superheroes to choose from, and everyone is invited to have a go. To find out more about the rules, as well as the prizes on offer visit: www.newforestshow.co.uk, or to enter contact Aaron Lawford on aaron.lawford@regentasset.co.uk by Friday 25th July. The scarecrows need to be brought to the Show on Sunday 27th July between 12 and 2pm and taken along to the Forest Fun Factory area.

Judging will take place that afternoon and the scarecrows will then be displayed around the Showground for the public to enjoy over the three days of the Show.

Charity of the Year

Every year, the New Forest Agricultural Show Society (NFASS), as part of its charitable remit, promotes and encourages the development of agriculture, forestry, equestrianism and horticulture and lends its support to one main charity. The incoming Show President, as part of their duties, chooses the Charity of the Year, which in 2014 will be Hampshire Country Learning.

Hampshire Country Learning is based at Sparsholt Agricultural College near Winchester and is run by two experienced teachers and environmental practitioners, Jo Hatton and Felicity Davis. Hampshire Country Learning works to enable every school child in the Hampshire area has access to high quality, educational and enjoyable countryside experiences for free. Each Countryside Day for Schools enables 180 schoolchildren to spend a day on a private rural estate enjoying interactive and educational workshops such as cheese making, wheat grinding and tasting local produce, all led by the estate staff and volunteers.

As well as the President’s Charity of the Year, the Show also runs a Countryside Education Competition, now in its fifth year. The competition enables schools throughout the New Forest area to experience the local working countryside and learn how the Forest is managed to provide a unique landscape and to produce food.

Work completed by the pupils in conjunction with their visit is then displayed within the Discovery Zone at the Show, so that Show goers can share their experiences and perhaps learn a few things too.

The Show also provides free stands for seven local charities every year so that the 95,000 people visiting the Show can find out about the work that they do. This year the charities benefitting from this have been named as the British Horse Society, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Hampshire Air Ambulance, Avon Tyrell Outdoor Activity Centre, Bransgore Community Responders, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Sheiling Ringwood. Be sure to visit and show your support.

Cooking with the chefs

One of the most popular areas within the showground is the Local Food and Farming section, where you can find the county’s top local producers. As well as the chance to taste some of the best Hampshire flavours, you will also be able to see them transformed into stunning dishes in the cookery theatre, by the county’s most inspirational chefs. With names such as James Golding from The Pig, Luke Matthews from Chewton Glen, Angela Hartnett from Harnett Holder & Co at Limewood and Great British Menu star, James Durrant, it is the perfect place to pick up some tips from the experts and sample some mouth-watering fare.

Flower Show

If you are always inspired by our fabulous Hampshire gardens, then the Flower Show should definitely be on your agenda. The county’s answer to Chelsea, you’ll see beautifully-landscaped gardens, sweet pea classes and flower arranging competitions. The Southern Vegetable Championships are always a sight to behold and the county’s top trade nurseries will be putting on a spectacle with all the latest plants and flowers. John Penney, Chairman of the Flower Show Committee at The New Forest and Hampshire County Show said: “I am delighted to report that this year, we have the highest number of entries recorded for many years at the Show - which includes several new exhibitors such as Harlequin Plants, Meadowgate Nurseries and Bournemouth Academy of Floristry. There are 28 exhibitors in total which makes our show in the New Forest one of the most successful in the country.”

This year, the Show’s hands-on theme will see Dr Fosters from the Isle of Wight encouraging you to make your own hanging baskets. While CK Garden Design, Kevin Barnett and Longstock Gardens will give you plenty of ideas to take away as well as offering a place to enjoy a moment’s peace before venturing back to the showground.

How to get there

The best way to buy your tickets is online www.newforestshow.co.uk. Not only will you beat the crowds on the day, but you will also get 10% off the ticket price if purchased before July 21. Tickets bought in advance cost £17.55 for adults, £5.40 for children between five and 16 and £16.65 for senior citizens. Parking is available on site but we would advise that you get there as early as possible to avoid the delays around Lyndhurst.