Devon rallies behind its County Show
1st May 2015
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Advance ticket sales are up on last year, there will be a vast array of trade stands and livestock exhibitors will be coming out in force.


The 120th Devon County Show will be held on May 21-23 at Westpoint, Exeter, and promises to be the biggest event in the county’s year.


That’s the message at this year’s launch held on Thursday (April 30) at Southernhay House in Exeter. Local journalists and editors were given an update on how preparations were going and full details of the three days were unveiled.


Show Secretary, Ollie Allen, said: “If having to cancel the third day of last year’s Show was heart-breaking, the response of our members, our exhibitors, our sponsors, our trade-stand holders and the general public, via social media, has been truly heart-warming.


“The people and businesses of Devon are so supportive of their County Show in a way that is totally remarkable.


“There are more agricultural trade stands than ever before; the food and drink pavilion has been extended to accommodate more artisan food producers and our livestock competitions continue to grow.


“Informing our visitors is another vitally important part of what we do.  Mostly, it’s unconscious information - bringing town and country together is what we do.  No-one can come to the Show without going away knowing a bit more about Devon farming, food and country life.


“But this year, we’re taking that role a step forward, by linking up with Devon County Council’s Farm Wise initiative.  This is all about using the County Council’s farm estate, and its farm tenants, to help the county’s school-children learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced.  We’ve set aside a special area of the showground where school-children and children visiting with their families and friends can try their hands at all sorts of farming and food-related activities, helped and guided by real live Devon farmers.  It will be educational, of course, and serving a very worthwhile purpose.  But it will also be a whole lot of fun!


“Which I suppose just about sums up the Devon County Show as a whole. Yes, we are here to do a serious job for Devon’s rural community and rural industries.  But we are above all a celebration of all things Devonian - a great big party for all the people of Devon which, this year, will be just a little bit more special for all of us.”


The match of Southernhay House, which is hosting the event, to the Show brings together the two sectors that make Devon such a distinctive and successful place to live and work.  Devon’s produce is well known and appreciated internationally, while the hospitality sector is now one of the most respected areas of growth in the county.  


Deborah Clark, owner of Southernhay House in Exeter and the internationally famous Burgh Island, said: “As owners of both Southernhay House in Exeter and iconic Burgh Island, a Devon landmark, we are proud and delighted to support the core traditions and businesses of our county.” 


“We have supported the Devon County Show since we opened in Exeter and for very good reasons: it is more than an opportunity for manufacturers, farmers, producers and consumers to come together; it’s a celebration of what makes Devon special - a fusion of both old and new.    We put localism, independence and passion at the heart of our businesses and we know that everyone involved in the Devon County Show feels the same.”  


Notable attractions include:

  • New this year: The Show has a completely new farming dimension, as it joins forces with Devon County Council's "Farm Wise" initiative to create an area where schoolchildren can learn everything there is to know about where their food comes from. 
  • Major car parks upgrade: £65,000 has been invested since last year’s Show in creating new track ways, better drainage and additional land to increase the resilience of the 100-acres of green-field car parks.
  • The headline attraction in the Mole Valley Farmers’ Main Arena is the freestyle motocross stunt team, The Bolddog Lings.
  • New this year: West Country Crafts & Love Local (a Devon company championing local crafts and products) and the Devon County Garden Centre are housed in a 152m’ long marquee (on the site of the former flower & garden marquee).




Show attractions include:

    • Magnificent animals of all shapes and sizes
    • Delicious local food and drink
    • Non-stop entertainment
    • Country life area
    • Top equestrian section
    • Pedigree dog show
    • Sheep shearing
    • A shopaholics’ paradise
    • Historic steam engines and vintage vehicles
    • Metalwork and shoeing forges
    • BBC exhibit with live programmes
    • RFU, Exeter Chiefs Academy, Bicton Girls and YFC Rugby
    • Armed Forces feature
    • Machinery Drive Experience (from quad bike to tractor!)


Farming, the countryside and food is at the heart of the County Show, which is the great curtain-raiser for the livestock and horse showing season in the South West:

  • This is the second year of the Devon Farm Business Awards, run in partnership with the Devon County Agricultural Association, the Addington Fund and Stephens and Scown LLP. The Awards will be presented at a Gala Dinner at the Showground on the eve of the Show.
  • Mole Valley Farmers, major sponsor of the County Show, will once again have a major presence, with two separate exhibits to showcase their goods and services.
  • There are more farming-related trade stands than ever, taking more space.
  • The agri-food industry in Devon is hugely important to the county’s economy - generating almost a billion and a half pounds towards Devon’s GDP, which is 13 per cent and twice the national average.
  • And the Devon County Show is hugely important to Devon’s agri-food industry, as its major shop window, market place and meeting place.
  • The cream of the region’s breeding livestock will be on display
  • Lots of local food and drink producers:
      • Ales from Devon – real ales and ciders
      • Taste of the West members’ food court
      • Fast food ‘buy local’ policy
      • One of the best Food and Drink pavilions 


VIP visitors/celebrities:

  • Princess Anne will visit the Show on Thursday
  • The CLA has issued an invitation to the incoming Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the Breakfast Debate on Thursday
  • Minette Batters, Deputy President of the NFU will visit on Thursday
  • Guy Smith, NFU Vice President will visit on Friday for the annual NFU Show Breakfast
  • Devon Young Farmers’ will hold their annual debate on Friday


And finally, but very importantly, we continue to offer good value for money:

  • New this year is an advance tickets promotion with ‘airline style’ pricing.
  • Two children per adult get free entry on Saturday, the first day of half-term.
  • Parking is free and extensive and for the more energetic visitor, there are cycle parks at every Entrance
About the Author

Dave B

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, I am Dave, I run thebestof Exeter along with my colleagues. If you want to promote your business or event, get in touch with us on 01392 349 130.

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