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Posted: 01 May 2018 by Anne Ashford

Devon Life previews the Devon County Show

Ever since we coined the phrase 'Devon's BIG day out' to describe Devon's annual County Show, we've been working with the media to give readers & viewers a taste of the treats in store: here's a feature for Devon Life.


In Thomas Hardy’s day country fairs were the colourful, fun-filled pageants that every year lit up the lives of those who made their living working the land. It was one of the annual highlights that gave rural dwellers a chance to meet friends, show off their cattle and make and spend some money.

Fast forward a hundred years or so and Thomas Hardy is sure to recognise today’s agricultural events which bring town and country together as more people are interested in farming, food and the environment than at any time since the industrial revolution.

The Devon County Show, held on May 17, 18 and 19 at the Westpoint showground, Exeter, has livestock at its core, which is as popular with visiting farmers as school parties of youngsters who have never set foot on a farm. The great variety of features also embraces modern concerns such as plastic pollution of the oceans and creating an environment where honeybees can thrive.

Show Secretary Ollie Allen, who is heading-up her 22nd and last event before retiring in the summer, said: “The Show is a once-a-year opportunity to experience the full variety and richness of life in Devon.
“Here you will see the best that Devon agriculture can offer – magnificent livestock in one huge area and for the ‘food connoisseurs’, the best cheese, honey, cider and home-baked produce one will see anywhere in the country.”

The two most prestigious awards in the world of British cattle breeding will be contested at the Show. Chief cattle steward, Nick Burrington, said that it was a “tremendous honour” for the Show to have been selected to host the Burke Beef & Dairy Champion Trophies.

“Cattle breeders are very proud of the stock they produce and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to compete for these most prestigious awards. We are sure that this event will be enjoyed by our exhibitors and stockmen, stewards and members of the public - after all, in the cattle world being nominated to compete for a Burke trophy is like being nominated for an Oscar.”

Livestock competitions are as important today as they ever were in the past; if a farmer wins a major prize the value of his livestock can increase dramatically. But the Show also has a major educational remit helping youngsters as well as adults get to know more about food and farming.

For youngsters
At the Children’s Farm, organised by Farmwise, chicks will break out of their shells in an incubator, cows will be milked, apples crushed to make glasses of delicious juice, bread baked and seeds planted ready for nurturing at home.

Located opposite the Farm is a major new marine conservation area; in the Ocean Discovery Zone visitors can go eye-to-eye with giant whales, sharks and seals - of the blow-up variety - and meet conservationists and researchers. The feature is presented by The Whale Workshop and Seadream Education, in partnership with Devon County Show, and sponsored by Coastal Recycling and The University of Plymouth Marine Institute.

A packed entertainment programme sees the return to the Rathbones main arena of the mighty Monster Trucks display team, the grand parade of livestock and new for this year, Zorb football!

Along with a food hall teeming and vendors around the showground tempting excellent Devon and West Country produce, visitors can tuck into food and drink at the new Watering Hole pavilion. Under a red and blue canvas roof there will be a musical programme on stage interspersed with Show highlights from the All Points West student news team. On Thursday evening visitors can stay on for Queen tribute band Rhapsody and on Friday night it is the turn of Sparks.

Royal wedding
The Show is throwing the biggest Royal wedding party in the county to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Show Saturday (19 May). There will be live TV coverage, a mass confetti throw, a wedding headgear competition and the chance to ‘toast’ the happy couple.

Come to the Show!
Ticket type In advance On the day
A pair of Silver Saturday badges:
Two adult badges include entrance to the Show and the Members’ Pavilion.
Note: Badges are posted. £36.00 N/A
Adults £19.00 £21.50
Over 60s £17.00 £19.00
Over 60s
Buy One Get One Half Price
Valid for Thursday or Friday ONLY £25.50 N/A
Thursday or Friday ONLY (Aged 5-15) Valid for Thursday or Friday ONLY £7.50 £8.00
Child Saturday ONLY (Aged 5-15)
*2 free children admitted per adult/over 60s. Valid Saturday only. £4.00 N/A

Visit to find our more and to buy tickets.