Heavy horses and a multitude of tractors, both vintage and modern, will be ploughing the straightest furrow as ploughmen and women descend on a Somerset village in October when this year’s British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival will be held at Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton on 14th and 15th October.
Over 260 local champions from throughout Great Britain will take part in various classes over the two days, including world style conventional and reversible ploughing, vintage trailing, hydraulic and classic ploughing, classes for Ferguson tractors, David Browns, Ford and Fordson, horticultural machinery, stylish high cut ploughing and two days with 19 pairs of magnificent heavy horses. The event is the highlight of the ploughing calendar and competitors travel from far and wide to compete – the furthest travelling around 500 miles from Perthshire in Scotland.
The event will be brought back to Bishop’s Lydeard once again by the kind invitation of landowner K S Coles and family. K S Coles Ltd, based at Chelston, near Wellington, is a family owned vegetable grower and packer business who supply some of the country’s leading supermarkets with swede, peas and broad beans and they are giving up 200 acres of their prime Somerset land for the weekend in October.
Main sponsors of the event are Firestone Tyres and additional support has been given by Bridgwater & District Agricultural Society, Friends of Ferguson Heritage, Old20 Parts, Mole Valley Farmers, Watson Fules and Wessex Agri.
Chairman of the Society of Ploughmen, John Hill, himself a farmer and an ex-World Champion ploughman, said, ”We are so pleased to be coming back to Somerset this year as the welcome we had when we were here in 2011 was second to none! Our hosts, those taking part, our visitors, our volunteers – everyone was so friendly that it added to a really great atmosphere and I’m looking forward to this once again. I obviously love ploughing myself, but you don’t have to as anyone can come along and have a really great day out”.
Mr Hill added, “We are fortunate to have superb hosts with the Coles family and the site is adaptable enough to allow any extra space needed for trade stands and crafts, so we can accommodate all those companies who want to come along and enhance the ploughing spectacle with a fantastic trade exhibition.” Along with the agricultural based trade stands, there will also be shopping stalls and country crafts.
The Championships will take place on land about 6 miles north of Taunton off the A358 at Bishop’s Lydeard and will be well signed from major roads in the vicinity.