Get inspired by engineering at the Bath & West Show

Have you ever fancied running an army tank or building a racing car? How about inventing a new jet engine or looking after a navy helicopter? Or are you a computer guru, fascinated by the rapid rate of development in technology and robotics? Whatever it is that piques your interest, the Imagineering Tent at the Royal Bath & West Show is sure to feed those flames and help turn your dreams into reality. 


Established as a charity, Imagineering seeks to introduce young people aged 8-16 to the exciting world of engineering, science and technology through fun, hands-on and practical activities. As well as running school clubs, the organisation holds several Imagineering fairs, including at the International Air Day at RNAS Yeovilton and the Royal Bath & West Show – where it has won the Gold award for Best Feature in Show for several years. 


“The huge Imagineering Tent gives visitors the chance to learn first-hand about the importance of modern engineering in our everyday life,” explains Joy Smith at the Imagineering Foundation. “There are opportunities for hands-on inspection of some breath-taking engineering and technology used in production and defence, which can not normally be seen by the public.


“There will be challenges for all ages and abilities, from maths and mechanics to electronics, robots and simulators. Visitors will get a glimpse into the high technology that keeps our utilities working, ships afloat and planes in the air. There will also be opportunities to talk to young and experienced engineers and discover what inspired them to take this career path.”


Exhibitors in the Imagineering Tent include:

BMT- specialising in offshore environments and construction, BMT will be running three activities for visitors to learn about stability and buoyancy in a hands-on and exciting way.

Leonardo Helicopters – transform yourself into a pilot of a Royal Navy Merlin Mk2, design your own helicopter, learn what makes them fly, and look at real helicopter parts.

Rolls-Royce – the engine build challenge. Learn how a jet engine works and see how fast you can build an engine.

Wessex Water – a range of activities for different ages - including the opportunity to create connection supply pipes to match the perfect example.

GE Aviation – features a helicopter simulator as well as host of smaller activities and interactive games, including Plane Academy.

Visitors can also sign up for a workshop to go one-to-one with an engineer, learn how to use tools and make a working model they can take home. “There will be the daily Imagineering Team Challenge between companies with stands in Imagineering – always great fun to watch,” says Miss Smith. “Young visitors will also get a special ‘Passport’ to fill with stamps and stickers as they go round the stands and complete the activities, giving them a chance to enter a Grand Draw for a £100 prize.”


The Imagineering Fair is supported by – Bahçeşehir College; Baker Hughes; Bath College; BMT; Bridgwater & Taunton College; EDF Energy; First Lego League; GE Aviation; IET Bristol; IET Somerset & North Wilts; Imagineering Clubs; Leonardo UK; REME (Army);  Rolls-Royce; University of West of England; Wessex Water; Wiltshire College and the Royal Bath & West Show.


  • The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £3 discount on early adult bookings.

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Strong competition at the Bath & West Show

The Royal Bath & West Show is enjoying strong competition entries again this year, with an enormous variety and number of breeds represented in both the farm and equine classes. 

“In the sheep section, we have 13 breeds showing an increase in entries, including Zwartbles, Southdowns, Kerry Hill, Dorset Horn & Poll Dorset, Blue Texel and the Any Other Native Shortwool,” says head of shows Alan Lyons. “We are also hosting the Texel Society Focus Show, for which owners have shown huge enthusiasm, generating a massive 136 entries.”

Last year’s Texel and interbreed sheep champions, Paul and Christine Tippetts, will be returning to defend their crowns this May half term. “Showing is a show window for people to see what we are breeding,” says Mrs Tippetts. “It’s also an opportunity to spend time with fellow breeders and to socialise with like-minded people. It takes months of preparation and a lot of hard work but to win is a tremendous feeling – a real buzz.”

Despite challenging times for the beef sector, given the limitations imposed through TB, eight breeds have increased entries, led by Devons and Any Other Natives, followed closely by Limousins, says Mr Lyons. And it’s clearly a competitive section, as last year’s champions, Nick and Lisa Hill – along with their children Archie and Lottie – concur. 

“Preparation takes years,” says Nick. “It’s all in the breeding - you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. And the final preparation lies months ahead of the show; a huge amount of time and effort is put in behind the scenes with halter training, training hair growth and keeping the animals fit and on form for the big day. 

“But it’s great fun and the family all really enjoy meeting similar-minded people. It also helps promote our herd and breed; we are all quite competitive and thoroughly enjoy that aspect of showing.”

In the pig section it’s good to see three breeds with higher entries, particularly the Gloucestershire Old Spots, which have almost doubled in numbers since 2017, says Mr Lyons. Other breeds increasing are the Large Whites and Tamworths.

With the new equine area proving to be a great success, it’s hardly surprising that equine entries are also on the up – and the Society is busy watering the ground to make sure it’s in top condition come show days.  

“The ever-popular Dartmoor ponies have increased by 50% to 30, followed by the Welsh sections A and B, standard Shetlands, Highlands and Connemaras,” says Mr Lyons. Senior horses and ponies over 15 years of age continue to grow in popularity, with significant increases in both the in-hand and ridden classes. “Finally, the working hunter classes see an increase of 10 to 48 in five classes.” 

In the heavy horse section, the new team class of up to six horses has boosted turnout and harness entries by 13 to 35, while the popularity of ridden heavy horses continues to grow, year-on-year.

Last year’s Cuddy qualifier was Triple Crown, shown by Simon Charlesworth. “Winning a Cuddy qualifier is always special because it’s essentially a supreme of show with a great depth of quality animals,” explains Mr Charlesworth. “There’s a lot of history to the Cuddy as it goes to the Horse of the Year Show - it’s not an easy thing to do and there have been so many very famous show horses over the years that have won it. 

“In 2010 I was champion at HOYS in the Cuddy final with a Hack broodmare and my dad was reserve champion with a Riding Pony – that was great as no other family has achieved that before or since.” 


·         The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £3 discount on early adult bookings.

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Bridgwater & Taunton College Awarded Accreditation from National Skills Academy

Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) is feeling proud, having achieved accreditation from the National Skills Academy Food & Drink (NSAFD) for their food-specific Apprenticeship provision and delivery to the industry.

The NSAFD exists to provide businesses across the UK’s food and drink manufacturing and processing industry with a single source of access to leading edge workforce training, vocational study and skill upgrades, designed to boost productivity, innovation, profitability and growth. The academy works closely with a range of key industry stakeholders, supporters and partners in delivering their mission of making the food and drink industry in the UK the best in the world, and BTC are extremely proud to have been chosen to be a part of this.

The NSAFD will be presenting the accreditation award to BTC at an industry forum event at the College later in the month.

BTC, have recently been awarded Outstanding by Ofsted for Apprenticeships, and is the region’s leading provider. They work with a large number of local and national employers, training the next generation of professionals. The College’s dedicated Business Development team is highly experienced in the development and delivery of Apprenticeship solutions, as well as being extremely knowledgeable in the new reforms, including the Levy.

To make contact with the BTC Business Development team or to find out more about their involvement with NSAFD or to attend the industry forum, email or call 01278 655111.

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Glastonbury vibe at Royal Bath & West Show

Glastonbury Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the world, but what you may not know is that founder Michael Eavis first caught the bug at the Royal Bath & West Showground in 1970. And having been President of the Royal Bath & West Show for two years, his legacy remains in the Pilton Tent, a hub of live music, bars and fresh local food.

“I’m very keen on the Pilton Tent, it’s a wonderful area, and brings a real festival atmosphere to the Show – I started introducing it on day one of being President and wanted it to continue every year,” he explains.

It seems rather fitting, given that Mr Eavis was inspired to create his first festival at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, having attended the Bath Blues Festival at the showground almost 50 years ago. “I was completely bowled over by that – it’s what started my festival career; it all started at the showground,” he says.

As a boy at boarding school, Mr Eavis had a passion for pop music and he even got caned for listening to Radio Luxembourg at midnight when he was nine years old!

So the Bath & West Festival of Blues and Progressive Music, which took place in 1970, was just up his street and he fell for it hook, line and sinker. He started his very own festival on the farm that same year, which he called the ‘Pilton Pop Festival’. It cost £1 to attend, which included free milk from the cows.

It’s much bigger now though, with over 200,000 people attending. “It’s wonderful to see so many lovely people enjoying themselves – not unlike the Bath & West Show,” he says. “It has so much of our rural heritage to see, from cheese and butter to cream teas from the Women’s Institute. There are amazing cattle and sheep shearing - the skills and talents of the countryside people are unlimited.”

So how does the farm run smoothly alongside the festival? “We have 500 milking cows and 500 young stock – the dry cows graze away from the festival site, but we have to keep the milking cows in to avoid any e-coli issues for our visitors,” says Mr Eavis. “We have 400 people who clean up after the festival, with magnets to pick up any metal, and then we can turn the cows back out. The grass comes back pretty quickly after reseeding, and on a year off from the festival, the cows will graze all summer – it’s lovely to see them out.”

Because he has to buy in so much feed for the cows when they’re housed, it’s not feasible to be organic, but Worthy Farm is as green as possible in other ways. “About 20 years ago we were among the first farmers to have solar panels on the barn roof, and we have an anaerobic digestion plant which produces electricity from slurry,” he explains.

As the festival takes up all of Mr Eavis’s time and energy, he has two farm managers. John Taylor oversees the herd and milk production while Steven Kearle runs the whole farm and takes care of the crops and feed management.

“We all speak most days, and are currently moving to a local feed supplier,” says Mr Eavis. “The farm is really important to me – the family have been farming for 150 years. I’m a farmer first and foremost, and it felt like a tribute to my great grandfather when we won the NMR Gold Cup after five generations of milking.

“But I also go and listen to gigs all the time and run competitions for bands at the Pilton working men’s club every couple of weeks – that’s my job.”

From a farming perspective, Mr Eavis’s links to the Royal Bath & West Show go way back. “We always went to the Show, even before it settled at the permanent showground, when it was a travelling show,” he says. “My father let me drive the car to Exeter one year when I was about 12 years old – I loved it. He was urging me to drive faster and overtake people – I think I’ve got some of his habits!”

John Taylor and his wife Pam have exhibited cows at the Show on occasion, too, although it’s a lot of work getting the animals used to walking on a halter, he adds. “We’re producing 16,000 litres of milk a day, so it’s a big operation. There is huge demand for milk in the UK, and for cheese and milk powder worldwide. It’s a massive industry and we should be proud of what we’re doing – our food is needed worldwide and the climate and grassland in Somerset is just right for milk production.”

Visitors to the Bath & West Show will be able to sample plenty of local dairy produce and get up close with dairy and beef cattle in the showing rings, which is real highlight, says Mr Eavis. “It’s really nice to speak to producers, there are so many lovely people dedicated to making cheese, butter, yoghurts and honey – there’s an incredible array of skills at the Show.”

So what is he most looking forward to doing at the event? “I could spend half my time looking at the rural crafts area, then have lunch at the Pilton Tent and listen to some great music. Then I’d like to go off and see all those wonderful people putting their heart and soul into what they’re doing.”

For anyone who wants to enjoy the festival atmosphere into the evening, camping is available on-site.

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Tickets are available from the website: or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £3 discount on early adult bookings.

Book Show tickets before saver deadline

here are only 43 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, and visitors have until this Friday, 19 April, to book super saver tickets and secure a £5 discount per adult.

A thrilling day out for all ages, the Show has a buzzing festival vibe and an exceptional array of food and drink. Head along to the main ring to watch gravity-defying stunt bike riders or cheer on the army and local business in featured rugby matches.

For festival lovers, visit the Pilton Tent – inspired by former Show President Michael Eavis - for live music, including the UK’s number one Take That tribute band Rule the World. And with the music – including the beloved Wurzels - continuing well into the evening, why not book into the Show’s campsite and enjoy a mini festival on your doorstep?

As host to the British Cheese Championships and the British Cider Championships, the Show has plenty to whet your appetite, from local vegan and gluten free caterers to home-grown farm beef. There is also world class showjumping, rural crafts and livestock competitions.

For a bit of adrenaline, have a go on the 4x4 off-road course, witness the daring antics of the Dorset Axemen and take a ride on the enchanting miniature railway.

Of course, there is plenty of retail therapy on offer, with exhibitors ranging from country clothing and equipment to art galleries, garden centres and toy stores. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, so come along and meet Tractor Ted or the impressive heavy horses.

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June, and with over 50 hours of entertainment each day of show there really is something for everyone. Super saver tickets are on sale until 19 April. Visit or call 0844 776 6777 to book yours.

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Entries closing for Royal Bath & West Show

With less than 50 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, entries will soon be closing for competitions ranging from private driving and sheep shearing to bees and honey, cider and cheese.

Entries for the very popular equine classes have been flooding in, with new competitions this year including gypsy cobs – both ridden and in-hand – a stallion class in the riding pony breeding section, and a driven team of three, four or six heavy horses. Qualifiers include the Cuddy championship for the Horse of the Year Show, the National Hunter Supreme Championship, the British Arabian Championships and the Irish Draught Horse Challenge.

In the show jumping rings, some of the UK’s top riders will be hoping to qualify for the British Showjumping National Championships, the BHS Royal International Horse Show, and the Horse of the Year Show.

“With more than £52,000 in prize money up for grabs, and our stunning specialist equine area, the Royal Bath & West Show is one of the most prestigious events on the equine calendar,” says head of shows Alan Lyons.

Other competitions include the British Farriers & Blacksmiths Association Championship, the Apprentice Championship and classes contributing to the acclaimed Champion Blacksmith of the Year award.

A short walk from the farrier pavilion is the bees and honey tent, with classes including observation hives, comb and jar honey and beeswax decorations. The general public can even get involved with the public choice awards. Having whetted their appetite, they can then head to the British Cider Championships and British Cheese Awards, to try out some of the UK’s best produce.

“If you’re looking for a quieter pastime, why not head to the floral art tent, which features a range of competitions including the People’s Choice award and Pop-Up Garden category,” says Mr Lyons. “Or nip into the art competition and be inspired by beautiful paintings and sculpture from the region’s artists – even vote for your favourite work and take it home with you.”

Livestock are a key part of the South West economy, and the best dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry will be competing for top honours in the livestock rings. This year, new classes include the Dexter National Show; commerical cattle; Portland, Primitive and Shetland Sheep and veteran sows. “We are also hosting the Golden Shears Junior and Open Sheep Shearing Championships, attracting the best sheep shearers from across the country,” says Mr Lyons.

“Whether you are after fast-paced competition, the best food and drink in the country, or something a bit more relaxing, the Royal Bath & West Show has it all. And with live music continuing well into the evening and on-site camping, exhibitors and visitors alike can really make the most of their day out.”

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Competition schedules and tickets are available from the website: or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £5 discount on early adult bookings.

Livestock entries closing for Royal Bath & West Show

There are only 60 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, meaning entries will soon be closing for livestock, poultry and sheep shearing competitions.

“Entries have been flooding in from producers around the country, with new classes offering competitors plenty of chances to take home the silverware,” says head of shows Alan Lyons. “Livestock are a key part of the British economy, and to reflect the importance of commercial success, we have introduced two new cross-bred cattle classes and increased the number of commercial cattle classes.”

In addition, this year will see the best Dexter cattle in the country congregating for the Dexter Society National Show, while a new discipline in the Cattle Showmanship Competition will test competitors’ presentation abilities to the max - as having judged, prepared and shown, they now have to photograph their animal.

In the sheep lines, Portland, Primitive and Shetland sheep now have their own class, and young sheep handlers will have even more opportunities to show off their skills with five classes to choose from. “We are also hosting the Golden Shears Junior and Open Sheep Shearing Championships, attracting the best sheep shearers from across the country,” says Mr Lyons. “In addition, this year we are hosting the South West area qualifier for the National Young Farmers Clubs, leading to the final at the Great Yorkshire Show in July.”

A new class for veteran sows complements the veteran pig exhibitor prize, while in the poultry section there are classes for virtually every breed of large fowl, bantam, pigeon, duck, goose and turkey – and their eggs – you can think of, culminating in the Poultry Club Summer National championships.

There is also an orchard competition for cider and apple producers, with entries judged on tree health, tidiness, apple crops, pruning and the environment. Winners receive industry-wide recognition and get to host an orchard walk led by an industry expert in July.

“As ever we have secured some of the best national and international judges for our livestock and orchard competitions, and exhibitors will need to be at the top of their game to claim the prestigious championship prizes,” says Mr Lyons. “But the Show is also one of the friendliest on the circuit, with a wonderful Showmans’ Supper and live music going on into the night. With close competition, over £70,000 of prize money and a superb atmosphere it really is an event not to miss.”

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Competition schedules and tickets are available from the website: or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £5 discount on early adult bookings.

Dotty Duckling’s Easter Egg Hunt Trail

Join the Easter Egg Hunt Trail at Hestercombe this Easter!

Signs of spring are popping up everywhere at Hestercombe – there are daffodils in the gardens, birds chirping in the trees and ducks splashing on the pond.

Mother Duck has hidden Easter eggs all around the gardens for Dotty Duckling to find, but she has been so busy hunting for them that she is going to be late for tea! Will you join the Easter Egg Hunt and help Dotty gather the last eggs and find her way back to the Pear Pond?

Trail: £2 per child (includes prize) Normal admission applies, no need to book.

Considering LPG as a farming energy source during winter …

Anyone involved in the strategic operation of a farm – regardless of whether the end product is crop or animal-based - will be aware that the processes involved in keeping the business afloat and profitable are energy-intensive.  From running tractors, to tending to livestock, or keeping a crop store heated … all require significant energy input.

This situation can become even more critical during the autumn and winter months, when harsh conditions make it more difficult for farmers to harvest, package and distribute produce. Add this to the challenges that come with heating rural, remote and off-grid agricultural locations (traditionally served by inefficient fuels like oil), and a farm’s energy supply can become fairly problematic.

For farmers looking for a greener, cheaper and more effective off-grid fuel solution that’s reliable even in colder seasons, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) could be an alternative.  LPG has increasingly become a go-to for farmers looking to meet ongoing heating or operational needs without compromising on outputs and the quality of their end product – or becoming dependent on an expensive alternative fuel.

When farming tasks take place off-grid…

Available in gas cylinder and bulk form, LPG provides an alternative to oil and solid fuels for off-grid agricultural use. It can be used for heating or transport in all types of farming processes, while also delivering a range of operational and environmental benefits. From dairy processing and poultry rearing right though to maintaining the perfect temperature for crop drying (or even propane enrichment of biomethane in anaerobic digestion plants), farmers have turned to LPG for its cleaner, more cost-effective and easily-controllable capabilities.

For farmers looking to understand the benefits of LPG, we take a look at how gas could become an essential part of efficient farming in the winter months:

1)          Using LPG for the care of livestock

Whether it be barn ventilation, lights, supplying food and water or manure handling, poultry cultivation requires a huge amount of energy. For birds and livestock, a constant heat supply is crucial to their survival – especially during colder seasons.

By choosing LPG, farmers and animals can potentially benefit from:

  • An efficient and cleaner-burning fuel, LPG reduces the risk of contamination within livestock (through feeds and litter) – ensuring that animals are kept as safe as possible.

  • The moisture produced by LPG heating is the perfect level to promote speedy feathering and weight gain amongst poultry.

  • Choosing an LPG supplier with a national supply network means deliveries can be made quickly and efficiently, keeping birds warm all-year round.


2)          Commercial plants and flowers – and heating

Maintaining constant temperatures for commercially grown plants and flowers is crucial to securing profits. When temperatures begin to drop, plants are naturally at greater risk of being damaged by frost, so it’s important to have the right heating system in place. LPG, as opposed to other off-grid options like oil, allows plant growers to benefit from a cleaner burning fuel, ensuring crops remain free from contamination. Depending on the size of the operation, farmers can also choose between an LPG gas cylinder, or bottle (which can easily be handled and lifted) and LPG gas tanks (which can be topped up automatically), meaning an energy system that delivers a constant heat supply for horticulture.


3.          Incorporating an LPG system for crop drying

When it comes to drying crops and grains, an LPG system can be a huge commodity to farmers looking to dry their produce quickly. As a highly controllable source of fuel, LPG makes for a more precise drying process, allowing farmers to maintain ideal levels of moisture without over-drying. The result is quicker drying all round, whilst also enabling farmers to preserve the quality of their crops, and ensure that the final product meets market specification.

Additionally, with LPG grain drying technology, there’s the potential to recycle heated air, providing an even more efficient way to dry grain, without increasing fuel consumption.


4.         Can LPG reduce your carbon footprint?

For farmers looking for greener ways of working, LPG can offer environmental benefits. It’s a lower-carbon alternative to conventional fossil fuels, cutting carbon emissions by approximately 15 % compared to heating oil (and 33% compared to coal). It also doesn’t produce black carbon – which is a major contributor to climate change. 

As a transport fuel for tractors or other farming machinery, it’s also estimated that LPG (or propane) produces up to 24% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, and 11% fewer emissions than diesel engines. Not only that, but the risk to the local environment is also kept to a minimum, as propane is non-toxic – providing a cleaner, greener, and cost-effective fuel solution for all kinds of farming uses.





[1] Gas for Off-grid Britain’ Report, UKLPG,

[1] Gas for Off-grid Britain’ Report, UKLPG,



Sheppy’s Brings Home Three Golds at the Industry Leading International Cider Awards

Current Master of Cider, David Sheppy, replicates grandfather’s 1930s success

Somerset’s oldest cidermaker, Sheppy’s Cider, are celebrating multiple gold medal success at the coveted International Cider Awards. Established in 1888 and evolving consistently over time to reflect an ever-changing cider industry, the International Cider Awards aim to reward and recognise the innovation, attention to detail and hard work that goes into cider production.

The judging took place over three days, covering multiple categories across sweet and dry styles. Sheppy’s beat off stiff competition from more than 182 ciders entered by 62 cider producers from 24 countries, including small and regional to multi-national manufacturers.

Sheppy’s took a clean sweep for:

200 Special Edition - Tannic Cider category. Celebrating 200 years and six generations of cider making, made from a blend of the very finest traditional cider apples. Also recently voted ‘Cider of the Year’ by The Stable Bar and Restaurants chain.

Classic Draught – Modern Cider category. A famous Classic Draught cider made with a carefully selected blend of Somerset’s finest traditional cider and dessert apples.

Low Alcohol Classic Cider – Low Alcohol category. A beautifully light and crisp low-alcohol cider with a refreshing apple taste. The cider delivers the same flavour profile as its traditional cider, but with less alcohol.

The accolades are of particular importance to Sheppy’s as they are the modern equivalent of the award’s sixth generation and current Master of Cider, David Sheppy’s grandfather won in the 1930s, which started Sheppy’s on it’s road to becoming one of the most distinguished cider makers in the country.

Master of Cider, David Sheppy comments: “We are beyond thrilled to have won three gold medals across three categories. The success has a particular resonance with me having followed in my grandfather Stanley’s footsteps. He crafted the early prototype of our Gold Medal cider, which won two gold awards at an earlier version of the same awards in the 1930s. My family has since been making premium cider for over 200 years and we are incredibly proud of our heritage and the skills we pass from generation to generation, which are at the heart of everything Sheppy’s does. It’s fantastic for Sheppy’s to have been recognised at this level again!”

Speaking of this year’s medal winners, Ruth Evans MBE, Director of Brewing Technology Services who oversees the awards, said: “It brings me great pleasure to announce the medal winners, and no small measure of pride to be involved in our fantastic industry. These awards are a bastion of excellence, and we are always sincerely impressed by the talent of the medal winners. With each round of awards, the standards are pushed ever higher. Competition is fierce, and receiving a medal is an achievement to be truly proud of. My congratulations to all!”

The International Cider Awards will culminate with the medal presentations at London’s Guildhall, where members of the international brewing and cider-making community will come together to discover and celebrate the 2019 trophy winners.

Cornish food and farming education project hits milestone

A project aimed at educating the next generation about the links between agriculture and where their food comes from has engaged thousands of Cornish primary school children since it began.

Organiser of the Royal Cornwall Show, the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association (RCAA), launched the Farm & Country Days On The Road project at the end of 2017 to further the reach of their educational work.

The project centres around a purpose-built trailer kitted out with interactive resources and activities which is taken to local schools to help their pupils aged from 4 - 11 learn about farming and food production.

A recent visit to Pencoys Primary School at Four Lanes near Redruth saw the 5000th pupil climb the trailer’s tailgate to participate. Over the past 16 months 61 schools across Cornwall have enjoyed a visit.

Education coordinator and former primary school teacher, Emma Parkyn, leads the RCAA’s educational activities and is enjoying enlightening food consumers and farmers of the future with this important knowledge.

Emma said:

“We try to make it fun and exciting so the children enjoy finding out more about what farming is all about and they often ask some very interesting questions.

“Getting properly stuck in is the order of the day and we have lots of hands on activities to bring everything we do to life, it also fits neatly into various aspects of the national curriculum.

“Our provision is constantly evolving and our latest addition, a life size dairy goat called Demelza that can be milked, has proven a big hit not only with the children but also the staff and parents when we turn up at a school and wheel her out of our trailer.”

The charity began working with schools by setting up and running the popular Farm & Country Days at its Wadebridge showground in 2013. So far more than 7000 seven to nine-year-old children from across the county have attended the annual event.

For more information about the project or the RCAA’s educational work please visit or contact Emma Parkyn on 01208 817016 or email:

Photo credit: Steven Michell  Year 1 pupils from Pencoys Primary School join Emma Parkyn, RCAA education coordinator (left) and volunteer Kelly Parsons (right) to celebrate the 5000th Cornish primary school pupil to enjoy the Farm & Country Days On The Road project.

Photo credit: Steven Michell

Year 1 pupils from Pencoys Primary School join Emma Parkyn, RCAA education coordinator (left) and volunteer Kelly Parsons (right) to celebrate the 5000th Cornish primary school pupil to enjoy the Farm & Country Days On The Road project.

CLA responds to meaningful vote result as potential tariff regime is published

CLA (Country Land and Business Association) Deputy President Mark Bridgeman said:

“With time now of the essence, it is vital that an agreement is found that can command the support of the House of Commons, so progress can be made on breaking the current political deadlock. This is likely to require an extension of Article 50.”

“While the result of yesterday’s vote should come as no surprise, it leaves rural businesses still facing significant uncertainty about what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be. We believe the best course to avoid huge disruption for farming and negative consequences for the rural economy, is for MPs to unite today in numbers to reject a “no deal” Brexit.”

Commenting on the release of the UK’s import tariff regime in the event of a “no deal” Brexit, Mr Bridgeman said:

“We welcome the limited protections announced today for some areas of the farming industry. However, we should be under no illusion about the consequences of these tariffs coming into force. Under this potential trading regime many of our products will become uncompetitive in Europe, while quotas for global tariff-free imports will create further uncertainty.

“It is vital that the Government makes clear that there will be early action to help those producers directly affected manage the impact. Market interventions and encouraging consumers to “buy British”, will also help mitigate economic and social hardship in the event of a “no deal” Brexit and significant market disruptions.”

Hop on down to the RHS Garden Rosemoor this Easter

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Rosemoor in Devon has teamed up with publisher Macmillan Children’s Books for an exciting programme of family fun during the Easter Holidays (6 – 22 April), based on The Rhyming Rabbit, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks.

The Rhyming Rabbit is a clever adventure from the picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, creators of What the Ladybird Heard and Sugarlump and the Unicorn. With brilliant rhyming verse, bright and distinctive illustrations, this story is a delight to read aloud.

Families can enjoy The Rhyming Rabbit Hop About Trail which will take them around the garden, meeting the Rhyming Rabbit’s animal friends along the way. Youngsters can also take part in craft activities such as the chance to make their very own rabbit headband. Other workshops will help families explore how animals live in the wild and in their gardens, how plants help to sustain them and what they can do to support wildlife of all kinds.


Amanda Cole, Head of Marketing at the RHS, says: “The Rhyming Rabbit is a delightful tale of exploring the world around us and making new friends in unlikely places, and we are thrilled to be bringing the story to life in our gardens this Easter. Just like the character in the book, our visitors will discover all kinds of creatures and plants as they journey around the gardens.”

Alyx Price, Communications Director at Macmillan Children’s Books, adds: “We are delighted to be partnering with the RHS again in 2019. Together we can introduce The Rhyming Rabbit and his friends to a wide audience this Easter and the activities promise to be great fun for all ages.”  

Other activities taking place this Easter include: The Golden Carrot hunt when families can solve the clues leading to the location of the Golden Carrot on a map for a chance to win books and RHS prizes.

At the start of the school holidays on 6 and 7 April, Rosemoor is hosting a brand new event – Wool & Yarn Fest. This will include a wealth of traders and displays of products from talented local craftspeople as well as a number of demonstrations and workshops using these versatile materials. In addition there will be young alpacas and spring lambs for all the family to meet.

On Tuesday 9 and 16 April, The Really Wild Learning Show with Kim Insull returns to Rosemoor with his collection of minibeasts and creatures to get up close with, some of which are laying eggs! This is a ticketed event (plus normal garden admission) and there is limited capacity of 30 children per show priced at £2.50 per child (aged 3yrs and over) and tickets need to be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.


For more information and to book tickets, please visit the website or phone 01805 626810.

Enter Hestercombe’s Poetry Competition

With the onset of spring, and as a tribute to our newest restoration project here at Hestercombe, we’re calling for young writers to enter our poetry competition on the theme of ‘spring’.

With the unveiling of Sibyl’s Temple, a recreation of a magnificent 18th century building in Hestercombe’s Georgian Landscape garden, winners of the competition will get the chance to read their poem at the official ceremony on Wednesday, 17th April.

They will also be invited to take part in a writing masterclass with one of the competition’s judges, international bestselling author Vicky Holmes (creator of Warrior Cats, Rainbow Magic, Animal Ark, Heartland and Chestnut Hill), and there will be prizes of £25 in book tokens to spend on their favourite reads.

Alongside Vicky, there will be a number of special guest judges, including Hestercombe’s Chief Executive Philip White MBE.

The age categories for the competition are split into three: under-12s12-15 and 16-21

The competition will close at 5pm on 1st April 2019.

Visit the website to enter

Entries open for Royal Bath and West Show

t’s only 100 days to go until the Royal Bath & West Show, and livestock entries are now open, with new classes, top judges and plenty of evening entertainment on offer.

This year sees the Dexter Society hosting its National Show at the event for the first time, which is sure to attract a large entry. “The smallest cattle breed in Europe, Dexters are descended from the mountain cattle of Ireland,” says head of shows Alan Lyons. “They are very popular with smallholders and provide great beef, and we look forward to welcoming so many of them to the ring.”

Reflecting the importance of commercial success, the Show has introduced two new cross-bred cattle classes and increased the number of commercial cattle classes. “Husband and wife team Jason and Sarah Wareham from Sussex will be judging the commercial and young handler categories, with Jason returning to the Show having exhibited here as a boy,” says Mr Lyons. Another regular exhibitor, Richard Dorrell from Worcestershire, will be judging the supreme beef championship, while Peter Waring from East Yorkshire will be picking out the supreme dairy champion.

In the sheep section, Portland, Primitive and Shetland sheep now have their own class, and young sheep handlers have an impressive five classes to choose from. “Judging the interbreed pairs championship is Gwynne Davies from Ceredigion – a well-known sheep farmer and the sheep commentator from the Royal Welsh Show,” explains Mr Lyons.

Sheep shearing is always a popular draw, with some of the UK’s fastest shearers competing for the top prize. This year the event will host the South West area qualifier for the National Young Farmers Clubs, leading to the final at the Great Yorkshire Show in July.

Pig exhibitors won’t be left out either, with a new class for veteran sows to complement the veteran exhibitor prize.

Within the Cattle Showmanship competition there is a new discipline for senior competitors in that having judged a class and prepared and shown their animal, they have to set it up and take a ‘Show Standard’ image of it – an important part of displaying livestock to look their best.

“Showing livestock is hard work - with families having to take time off from the farm to attend – but it is certainly worthwhile; particularly at the Bath & West Show, as regular exhibitors will attest,” says Mr Lyons. “As a keen sheep exhibitor, I know the difficulties of travelling round attending different competitions. But our competitors love the way we make them feel so welcome, with a hugely enjoyable Showmans’ Supper on the eve of the Show and live music going on into the night. Both exhibitors and visitors are welcome to camp overnight and really make the most of the occasion: The camaraderie and atmosphere really is second to none.”

The Royal Bath & West Show will be held on 29 May – 1 June. Competition schedules and tickets are available from the website: or by calling 0844 776 6777. Children - for the first time - can go free during the May half term, with a £5 discount on early adult bookings.

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Royal Bath & West Society - International Women's Day


Join the Royal Bath & West Society for networking and nibbles in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Friday 8th March 2019 from 09:30 – 12:00.

The Rural Enterprise Centre, Bath & West Showground, BA4 6QN

This event is free to attend and will be chaired by Annie Maw, HM Lord- Lieutenant of Somerset and the Society’s President-elect and will feature inspiring presentations from the following women in business:

Debbie Howarth - Commercial Enterprise Manager at The Royal Bath & West Society - "How well do you know the Bath & West Showground?"

Catherine Look - Managing Director at Oaktree Parks Ltd & Trustee of The Royal Bath & West Society - "Building on Foundations"

Lisa Cadd - Founder of Fuss Free Foodie - "Inspiring Change - the challenges of cooking & eating well as part of working/family life"

Jen Hunter - Events Manager Fernhill Farm and founder of Fernhill Fibre - "Products with Provenance"

The presenters will share their business stories, the challenges they face and give you ‘top tips’ to take away. This is a great opportunity for business women to connect, share stories and celebrate achievements.

Places are limited and are on a first come first serve basis.

Environmental body must be independent, warns ALA

The proposed new body for overseeing environmental legislation must be truly independent if farmers and land managers are to have confidence in it, the Agricultural Law Association has warned.

In its response to the draft Environment (Governance & Principles) Bill, the ALA is clear that the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) should report directly to Parliament, not just to Government departments.

“As an independent body, the OEP will be giving advice on proposed changes to environmental law, but under the current wording of the draft Bill the Minister won’t be required to present this advice to Parliament, which has the real possibility of limiting the scrutiny of any future changes,” said Mike Holland, consultant and adviser at the ALA.

“Environmental law has a direct effect on land use and management. For the agricultural industry to have confidence in the OEP it absolutely must be transparent, open and independent, and for that to be the case it must report directly to Parliament.”

In addition, the ALA recommends that the OEP has an internal panel with legally qualified members to deal with any authority which fails to comply with environmental law or issues arising from misinterpretation of Government policy. “This panel should have the power to set up a judicial inquiry, to ensure policy implementation is robust,” explained Mr Holland.

Another area of concern is how the Environment Bill will dovetail with the Agriculture Bill. “With all the pieces of legislation coming from Brexit there is a danger that they won’t tie up together. It is vitally important that the contents of the proposed Environment Bill reflect the direction of Government policy contained in DEFRA’s Health and Harmony consultation in 2018.”

This is particularly important with regard to new regulatory baselines that will apply to the environment; the starting point for the Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan. “While baseline data will be used to measure the success of environmental schemes, it’s not clear how the data will be collected or used, or how those baselines will be established,” said Mr Holland. “It is fundamental to the agriculture sector that the Government is clear on the evaluation methods that will be used and supported at farm level.

“In the longer term, it is also vital that we have clear and transparent environmental law governance outside of the EU, to ensure the rural sector is not over-burdened with regulation that hinders its ability to respond to the challenges ahead.”

For more information visit

Rosemoor announce three-year sponsorship deal for Garden Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Rosemoor, in North Devon, has signed a local three-year sponsorship deal with Atkins Ferrie Wealth Management (AFWM). This follows on from the very successful partnership supporting the 2018 Rosemoor Garden Flower Show.

The deal means that AFWM will be the Headline Sponsor for the next three years at the annual Garden Flower Show in August – the only official RHS Flower Show in the South West. It will bring in valuable funds to increase the content of the show and improve the visitor experience even more than in previous years. 

The deal also includes support for four other major gardening events in 2019 at Rosemoor, starting with The Spring Flower Festival, 16 & 17 March, then the RHS National Rhododendron Show, 27 & 28 April, followed by Rose Weekend, 21 - 23 June, and finally the Apple Festival in October.

Brokering the partnership, Steve Bowyer, Head of Site at RHS Garden Rosemoor, said “I am truly delighted to have the support of AFWM and the three-year deal means that we can invest in the show to increase its size; bring in more exhibits, displays and demonstrations, and generally ensure it continues to be a very enjoyable event for all our visitors.”

John Waldie, Managing Director of AFWM said: “As a keen gardener I am delighted to be working with the RHS.  We have sponsored the Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show for 6 years and, as we are very quickly growing our presence in Devon, working with the RHS is a natural progression for us.  Sponsoring the Rosemoor Flower Show in 2018 was a tremendous success and we are looking forward to coming back for the next three years as well as sponsoring additional events at Rosemoor for 2019.  We have been amazed by the professionalism of the RHS staff at Rosemoor whose attention to detail and excellence is as great as the garden itself.’

The 2019 Rosemoor Garden Flower Show takes place 16 – 18 August and is included in normal garden admission which is free for RHS members.

Please visit or call 01805 626810 for more details.

Steve Bowyer (left) for RHS Garden Rosemoor with Atkins Ferrie’s John Waldie

Steve Bowyer (left) for RHS Garden Rosemoor with Atkins Ferrie’s John Waldie

Cheddar throughput to double in new energy efficient Dairy

Bruton, Somerset, 28th January 2018 – Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent cheese producers and exporters, have been granted planning permission to re-build their Bruton based Dairy, doubling the capacity. The redevelopment is part of the companies 5-year plan for growth which is underpinned by increasing volume and the strategic targeting of specific regions world-wide.

The company have concluded their market prioritization research; the results of which have been used to develop the Wyke Farms 5-year plan for growth, which includes increasing brand presence in export markets in preparation for post Brexit trade and launching new export targeted products throughout 2019.

The companies’ audited accounts for y/e March 2018 show that turnover has risen to a record breaking high of £85 million; a significant 26% increase from the previous year with significant investment into world markets and a growth plan aimed to push the business to a £100million turnover this financial year. The Somerset based company have seen strong and consistent sales growth in the UK and overseas despite the challenging retail landscape.

The new Dairy expansion project, titled ‘Ivy’s Dairy’ after Wyke Farms’ matriarch Ivy Clothier will create a 16,589m² state of the art production facility. The dairy will be built to Ivy Clothier’s founding principles of producing the best in class quality combined with an industry leading respect for the environment. The development will be both energy and water efficient and sympathetic to the surrounding environment, with soft landscaping and a natural grass roof. The investment will build a sustainable long-term future and build sufficient infrastructure for servicing increased sales of award winning cheddar in both the UK and export markets.

Richard Clothier, third generation family member and Managing Director, comments: “Our strategy of selling into a growing export market has been very successful; it generates revenue that allows us to mitigate against the risks that a volatile dairy sector and a disrupted UK retail sector may bring. The new Dairy is crucial to facilitate the growth and meet global demand”

Wyke Farms has been producing its award-winning cheddar to their secret family recipe for over 150 years and has grown to become one of the largest family-owned cheese makers in Britain selling over 15,000 tonnes annually to over 160 countries around the world.

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