Livestock is at the heart of all agricultural shows, and this year’s Royal Bath & West Show will see over 4,500 animals take to the show rings.
Picking out the winners will be top class judges including Michael Read – 65-time beef supreme champion winner. “As well as brilliant advertising for pedigree breeders, showing is where town meets county,” says Michael. “This is our opportunity to show and tell the public what we’re doing, and a chance for them to get close to and see livestock they may have never seen before – it’s very important we carry on doing it.”
The equine section has enjoyed a major revamp this year with a brand new £120,000 horse area. With dedicated showing rings – including the Moet & Chandon sponsored ring – woodland horse walks, and parking, both competitors and visitors will benefit from this fresh look. “Horses are a huge – but often overlooked – part of rural life,” explains Alan Lyons, head of shows. “Whether visitors are keen horse enthusiasts of not, seeing the diversity of breeds and skills at the show is always a thrill.”
A trip to Somerset would not be complete without cider and it’s not in short supply at the Royal Bath & West Show. This year’s event will once again host the British Cider Championships and is set to showcase even more talent, with over 500 entries.
“There is no more prestigious accolade in the entire cider industry than a winner’s label from the British Cider Championships,” says Anthony Gibson, chairman of Orchards and Cider at the Royal Bath & West Show. “It’s a competition which no self-respecting cider-maker – however large or small – can afford to miss out on.”
Alongside this, the show will be adding a new dimension to its Orchards and Cider Exhibition with the launch of the International Cider competition. Classes are set to include traditional cider, New World cider and Spanish-style cider, and will bring cider-makers from across the globe together – including a group from the United States.
For cheese lovers, the show will play host to the British Cheese Awards, with some of the finest cheese-makers in the country showcasing their products in the hope of claiming the coveted Supreme Champion award. As well as the chance to view over 900 cheeses, there will also be an opportunity to taste and purchase the produce in the nearby British Cheese Marquee.
There’s also something for the younger generation, with the Farming for the Family area giving even the smallest hands a chance to get up close and personal with livestock and farming techniques. Visitors will get the opportunity to try their hand at cooking fresh farm produce in the new kitchen area as well as watching a live milking demo with Rosie Sage and the Hurdlebrook herd.
“Getting the public to make the link between field and fork is one of the biggest issues the industry faces,” says Mr Lyons. “It’s crucial we get the younger generation involved from an early age and give them the opportunity to see, feel and think about farming. This year we want our visitors to participate, not spectate.”
The four-day show will bring a festival feel to the site with street food sourced from top producers in the South West, as well as live music, bars and camping facilities – giving visitors the ultimate summer experience. In the main ring the ever-popular Dancing Diggers, from the Diggerland JCB Stunt Team, will feature exclusively at this year’s event.
“The Royal Bath & West Show is a very diverse event, with something on offer for everyone,” says Mr Lyons. “There’s something very special about watching the hustle and bustle of the daytime lead into the relaxed, cosy atmosphere of the evenings and we hope that people will stick around to experience both.”
- The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 31 May – 3 June. Tickets are available from the website: bathandwest.com or by calling 0844 776 6777.