The numbers climb up and up - last weekend’s Heathfield Show attracted in the region of 20,000 visitors; a good few hundred up on last year’s attendance.
Livestock classes began early but enthusiastic visitors were pouring through the gates from 8am onwards, thanks to the Show’s streamlined new parking arrangements which ferry traffic through several gates, preventing the gridlock of former years.
The Heathfield Show is primarily a show for the county’s farming community but it offers very much more. Alongside the South East’s finest beasts and farm equipment, there are trade stands (more than ever this year;) places to eat and drink; flower displays, a farmers’ market; ‘handmade in the Weald’ and craft marquees; a WI tent; a children’s fun area and endless displays and attractions in the main arena. And the Show benefits from the support of local schools’ Friends groups, Scouts, Heathfield and Waldron and Tonbridge rugby clubs, Plumpton college and local churches. As a thank you, money raised at the gate is distributed between these helpers’ groups.
Horse classes are a particular attraction with more than 500 entries this year ranging from ridden cobs to in-hand miniature Shetlands; from sidesaddle to Young Handlers with many classes acting as qualifiers for the Royal International Horse Show and Hickstead.
The main arena boasted cattle and sheep parades, music from the Heathfield Silver Band, four packs of hounds, the sheep show, vintage tractors, working steam, heavy horses and the return of the Monster Trucks - a much-loved display adored by children - where Big Pete crushes his way across the grass and nothing in his path stands a chance!
But perhaps the main purpose of the Show is to demonstrate the fine quality of British livestock, reared with love and cared for with the highest welfare standards in mind....worth remembering next time you have to decide what choices you should make when you come to do your weekly food shop.