A FANTASTIC, fun-filled couple of days has been enjoyed by thousands at the Royal Welsh Smallholding and Countryside Festival in Llanelwedd this weekend. As a celebration of rural life, the festival had smallholders and those who have a love of the countryside and outdoor activities at the heart of the event.

With opportunities to benefit from a large range of free workshops, talks and demonstrations, eager festival-goers were able to learn about all sorts of interesting activities, ranging from soil health, keeping pigs, native bees, blade shearing and growing vegetables, throughout the weekend.

The festival is always filled with fun, educational activities and this year was no exception. Whether you tried your hand at crocheting or took in the sights of the re-enactment group, there were a wealth of different rural crafts on display, old and new. The Country Life area was full of exciting action, such as climbing walls, cycling, circus skills, a bee experience tent and dog agility (to name just a few). Not forgetting the wonderful CowsOnTour team who ended their educational roadshow at the showground.

Having spent the past week visiting 15 schools across Wales, and telling the farming story to over 2000 children, the hard working CowsOnTour team spent the weekend engaging with visitors and explaining in a fun, hands-on way where our food comes from and the importance of farming.

“Being able to learn first-hand about agriculture and the importance of farming is a really important part of our Smallholding and Countryside Festival” explains Kay Spencer, Festival Director.

“The CowsOnTour initiative is a truly unique way of getting both children, and the general public, more engaged with knowing where their food comes from. We are delighted that we have been able to support this dynamic young team throughout their roadshow and during the festival. It’s great that our visitors have be able to get involved with the full CowsOnTour experience and learn more about the Welsh agricultural industry and the whole farming story.”

Attracting competitors and smallholders from near and far, the livestock competitions had an excellent line-up of animals in all sections. The goats, in particular, had a huge numbers of entries and a great two-days of competitions. With over 65 showing in the Boer Goat classes, it has been the largest gathering of this breed in the UK, to date.

New for this year, the woolhandling competitions attracted a good crowd, watching the competitors battle it out in the novice, intermediate and open competitions. Novice competitors were encouraged to enter to gain competition experience ahead of the upcoming show season, and were given a demonstration and advice before the competition began.

“We are really pleased with how much everyone enjoyed the first Royal Welsh event of 2019.” continued Kay. “This event is always a fantastic way to kick-start the show season and we are delighted how all the visitors have enjoyed all aspects, old and new, of the festival. It has been clear from the wonderful friendly festival atmosphere that everyone has fully embraced the ethos of the event… a celebration of smallholding and rural life.”

Having enjoyed all the livestock competitions, the crowds gathered to watch the Jez Avery Stunt show, the fantastic H&M Dog Display team, the entertaining Meirion Owen and his famous Quack Pack, along with a host of other entertainment, including scurry driving, show-jumping, tug-of-war competitions and the spectacular display vintage and Land Rover parades in the festival display ring.

The more athletic visitors tackled the mid-Wales hills to once again take on the challenge of the Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival, run in conjunction with Run 4 Wales. A series of challenging but scenic trail races, starting and finishing in the showground and taking in the surrounding valleys, fields and woodland tracks was held on the Saturday of the festival. The hundreds of finishers, including the winners of the Welsh Championship race, were presented with a trail-running t-shirt and a commemorative Welsh slate medal.

No Royal Welsh event would be complete without its offering of food and drink and this year’s festival didn’t disappoint. As well as the food hall, bursting with regional producers all showcasing the very best produce from Wales and the border counties, the popular street food area was packed all weekend with people relaxing and listening to the live music and enjoying a leisurely tipple and tasty treat.

For the first time, our Royal Welsh app included details for the Smallholding and Countryside Festival. Tech-savvy visitors were able to download the new-look app to get a sneak peek at the festival programme and details about the event. The new app also included an exclusive treasure hunt which allowed users to collect virtual badges throughout the showground and exchange them for a free gift and child’s ticket to this year’s 100th Royal Welsh Show.

“The Smallholding and Countryside Festival has been the perfect way to begin the show season for the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.” said Steve Hughson, RWAS Chief Executive. “We are fortunate to have tremendous support from all – tradestands, sponsors, competitors, volunteers and visitors – at all of our events, the next one being the up-coming 100th Royal Welsh Show just nine weeks away, held here at the showground in Llanelwedd on 22 – 25 July.”

The top results for the weekend are listed below, a full list of competition results will be available on the website shortly: www.rwas.wales

The top results from the weekend:

Sheep
Champion – J & P Owens, Leominster, Herefordshire

Reserve – Gwawr Llewelyn Hughes, Pwllheli, Gwynedd

Sheep Group of Three

Champion – Master Tom Ryan Evans, Four Crosses, Powys

Reserve – Messrs A T & P R Jones, Raglan, Monmouthshire

Pig

Champion – Mrs Sharron Nicholas, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Reserve – Mr & Mrs J & C Taylor, Narberth, Pembrokeshire

Angora Goat

Champion – C & D Tyler, Crymych, Pembrokeshire

Reserve – C & D Tyler, Crymych, Pembrokeshire

Angora Goat Fleece Competition

Champion – Debbie Francis, Llanidloes, Powys

Reserve – Jeannie Camm, Cardigan, Ceredigion

Dairy Goat Day 1

Champion – Mr Nick Parr, Surrey   

Reserve – Mr & Mrs R J & J A Hicks, Lampeter, Ceredigion

Dairy Goat Day 2       

Champion – Mr & Mrs R J & J A Hicks, Lampeter, Ceredigion

Reserve – Mr Nick Parry, Surrey

Pygmy Goat Breed Champion        

Champion – Messrs Nigel & Tim Keen & Bee, Monmouth, Monmouthshire

Reserve – Mrs Jill Osborne, Newport, Gwent

Pygmy Goat Pet Champion

Champion – Ms Tracey Cater, Warwickshire

Reserve – Mr & Mrs J & P Keates, Worcestershire

Boer Goat      

Champion – Mr Ian Johnson, Derbyshire      

Reserve – Mr Ian Johnson, Derbyshire

Cattle

Champion – T & K Bodily, Abergavenny, Monmouthsire         

Reserve – D J Bevan, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire

Best Sheep Breed Tradestand Award        

Winner – Jacob Sheep Society (Wales)   

Reserve – Balwen Welsh Mountain Society

Best Cattle Breed Society Stand    

Winner – Red Poll Cattle Society         

Reserve – Miniature Cattle

CHAPS Mid Welsh Regional Show, Supreme In-Hand     

Champion – Sian Elphick, Wrexham with Anbesbury Liquorice Allsorts

Reserve – Sian Elphick, Wrexham with Catdol Daisymay

Heavy Horses/Shires/Foreign, World or Rare Breeds     

Champion – Jayne Bowen, Shropshire with Lena

Reserve – N/A

Novice Section          

Champion – Zara Owen, Powys with Dyffryn Gwy Welsh Charisma

Reserve – Nia Davies, Ceredigion with Witwith Sirocco, Rider – Sioned Davies

Veteran Horse Society Area Qualifier – In-Hand  

Champion – Kelsey Bishop, Monouthshire with Shemika Snip

Reserve – Lesley Morgan, Monmouthshire with Crossfoot Pippin

Veteran Horse Society Area Qualifier – Ridden    

Champion – Abbie Dark, Swansea with Wycliff

Reserve – Julia Hewerdine, Carmarthenshire with Glanranell Major Robert

Mountain & Moorland (excluding Welsh Breeds and Shetlands)

Champion – Jane M M Harries, Carmarthenshire with Newoak Wild Rose Hip

Reserve – Shelley Bradley-Higham, Pembrokeshire with Buckland Rhianna, Rider – Frankie Higham

Working Hunter

Champion – Susan Hughes-Jones, Ceredigion with Waxwing Macenroe, Rider – Chelsea Hughes-Jones

Reserve – Justine Thompson, Powys with Daisy Rock Kingdom

British Miniature Horse Society      

Champion – Harriet Miller, Somerset with Model Farm UK It’s After Eight

Reserve – Charlotte Leonard, Rhondda Cynon Taf with Jasco Designs Contraband

Donkey Breed Society Championship       

Champion – Clare Humphries, Wiltshire with Lottie

Reserve – Clare Humphries, Wiltshire with Jake

CHAPS Mid Welsh Regional Show, Supreme Ridden      

Champion – Sophia Chambers, Powys with Roquefort Papillon

Reserve – Alys Matravers, Somerset  with Fancy Pants                  

Hacks & Riding Horses        

Champion – Abbie Dark, Swansea with Runnon Ruby Tuesday   

Reserve – Heather Ellis Jones, Ceredigion with Llanarth Fair Play, Rider – Nuala Ellis Jones

Side Saddle   

Champion – Rachael Forkings, Powys with Gravitatour

Reserve – Debbie Walters, Caerphilly with Criafol Misty Lady

Arabs  

Champion – Anne Pritchard-Simmons, Cardiff with Cupidhill Caprice, Rider – Jess Pritchard-Simmons

Reserve – Rhodri Jones, Carmarthenshire with H Pepegano

Irish Draught

Champion – Leander Walton, Worcestershire with Cosette’s Prospect, Handler – Tim Barnes

Reserve – Mrs L John, Powys with Griffin Bridge, Rider – Zara Owen

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