Thousands of farm animals at the showground
Livestock are at the very heart of the Devon County Show. There will be thousands of animals - cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses - entered in the Show’s competitive classes. And they will all be superb examples of their species or breed – they have to be, to stand any chance of winning a coveted prize card at one of Britain’s premier farming events.
Competition is fierce in every livestock section. Cattle judging in the rings outside the main Westpoint building starts early on the first day and culminates with the crowning of the inter-breed beef and dairy champions around midday on Friday, with a running commentary to explain what the animals in the ring are, where they’ve come from and what the judges are looking for. It makes for a fascinating scene, with the avenue running along the top side of the judging rings providing a superb vantage point.
Members of the public are equally welcome to watch the judging of the sheep and pigs, and admire not just the quality of the animals, but also the skills of their handlers in presenting them to best advantage – a skill that is at a particular premium with some of the more obstinate pigs!
All of the livestock sections are open to the public, although entrance to the cattle lines in the Westpoint building has to be restricted whilst judging is taking place so that animals on the move and people don’t get tangled up together, with unpredictable results.
There is no finer sight anywhere on the showground than the Grand Parade of Livestock, which takes place on Friday and Saturday afternoons, when the prize-winning cattle, sheep and pigs are led through the main ring by their proud owners and handlers. It sums up what the Devon County Show is all about: a shop window for top farmers and breeders to show off their livestock; a magnificent spectacle for visitors to the Show to enjoy.
Cattle hall opening times:
Thursday - the dairy cattle section will be open to the public all day. The beef section will be open at 1 pm or earlier if possible
Friday - opening times will be from midday until 2 pm then judging of the Burke Trophy Pairs will take place in the Livestock Arena followed by the ‘finale’ in the Main Arena, followed by the Grand Parade; the Hall will re-open at 5 pm.
Saturday - 9 am to 2.30 pm.
* Note: these times are correct at time of publication but are subject to change*
Devon has more native breeds of sheep and cattle than any other county in England, and the competitive classes for our local breeds are one of the real highlights of the show. The ‘Red Ruby’ Devons and ‘Orange Elephant’ South Devons are renowned the world over for their ability to convert grass to prime beef in all climates and all settings. As for the sheep, Devon is home to no fewer than five breeds: the Devon Closewool, Devon and Cornwall Longwool, the Exmoor Horn, Dartmoor Whiteface and Dartmoor Greyface. Among the pigs, both the Wessex Saddleback and Large Black breeds have strong roots in Devon.
Thrilling equestrian displays
There will be three packed days of competitions for both professional and amateur riders.
The wide variety of classes offer visitors the thrills of show jumping, scurry driving, the inter-hunt relay, private driving, the Concourse D’elegance and the fun Pony Club games.
Visitors will be able to see elegant Arabs, hunters, cobs, small Dartmoor and Exmoor ponies and heavy horses in action.
Fur & feather
There is poultry galore this year with a grand show of pure breeds, rare breeds, ducks and waterfowl. Also, there are broody hens, ducklings, goslings and an egg competition. The poultry is sure to provide a colourful spectacle and anybody who might want to keep hens can find out more from the expert and helpful stewards.
If you thought pigeons were dull birds, then you're in for a big surprise! For this is the section where those preconceptions will be turned on their heads when you're confronted by a spectacular array of rainbow colours, plumage, and fantastic fantails among these prize-winning pigeons.
A visit to the rabbits' marquee is bound to prove popular with all the family! Take a closer look at a wide variety of rabbit breeds and find out more about these fascinating animals. There are competitions on each of the three days of the Show plus the popular stock shows on the Saturday (this year Rare Varieties, National Thrianta, and Cornwall & Devon Rex).
Cavies & hamsters
How can anyone resist those cute button noses, soft strokeable ears and gorgeous little faces of the cavies and hampsters? Guinea pigs and hamsters make excellent pets and breeders will be available to offer their expert advice and information.