This feature always provides some of the very best of British ironwork on display and some of the leading blacksmiths in the country demonstrate their live forging skills during the County Show.
Westpoint Forge on Road 8 is ranked as one of the best facilities in the country, not only does it serve the Show, but throughout the remainder of the year it provides opportunities for people to sample the skills of the blacksmiths craft for themselves.
Popular as gifts for special occasions, and for family or group days out, the one day taster days give a hands on experience that is hard to find anywhere else. Many who come on the courses go on to develop further skills and take it up as a hobby or even a career change. The lure of hitting hot steel to form useful and beautiful objects can be very addictive.
Along with the live forging classes, which this year includes making a Devon Latch, making an item to a sample, and making something to sell in 30 minutes, there is a new class in the static competitions called The President's Choice. Unlike the other classes, which are judged by experienced blacksmiths for their technical skills and aesthetics, this class will be judged by Show President Mary Quicke, and is a more personal choice.
It is after all, a personal choice to purchase items made by the blacksmiths, and although it may not be technically the best, the opinions of the public are more important if blacksmithing is to survive as a viable occupation. So come along and see what you would choose, and see hear and smell the blacksmiths at work!
Farriers also manipulate metal but have the added dimension of working with horses which requires them to help keep the animal steady as well as shape and fit a shoe to protect the hoof. Competitions for a number of top regional awards is always fiercely contested.