Discover the Countryside

Our Discover the Countryside area is a green oasis in the midst of the busy Showground, a place to linger and discover the variety of experiences the countryside has to offer both for employment and leisure. With lots of seating, it’s a perfect spot for a picnic. With so many different activities, displays, showcases and interactive workshops on offer throughout the show, friends and families alike will be utterly spoilt for choice with what to do next!

Fishing

If you have an interest in fishing come and learn all about fly fishing, an angling method in which an artificial ‘fly’ is used to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel and specialised weighted line. Learn how to fly fish for yourself with Cinder Hill Trouting Syndicate, who will be giving daily demonstrations and lessons. The Fly Dressers Guild will also be available to show you how to tie the intricate flies, which will help to lure the fish on to the hook.

Forestry

Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving and repairing forests and associated resources to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human and environment benefits. Come and see display and demos by the Balcombe Estate who will be talking about how they grow trees and how their wood is utilised. Forest School, Bolnore Forest School in Haywards Heath will bring to life how learning in the woods enhances the curriculum.

Birds of Prey

Huxley’s Experience is the most colourful birds of prey centre in the country, with its well-maintained garden and huge selection of birds of prey. Huxley’s Experience will again be attending the South of England Show, offering up their fascinating display of birds of prey and twice daily flying demonstrations.

Live Bats

Bats live in different environments across the UK. Exactly where they might be found depends on the species of bat, the time of year and what they’re doing – looking after their babies, hunting or hibernating! At this year’s Show, we have one of the most incredible opportunities to provide our visitors with the very rare chance to get up close and personal with these amazing animals and learn more about them – this is always popular and draws a crowd!

Farming and the Countryside – with Plumpton, Brinsbury, Berkshire, Hadlow Colleges and Oathall School

Agricultural colleges from across the region take centre stage in the Discover the Countryside area, demonstrating everything from floristry activities to bug box making, as well as providing the opportunity to say hello to a wide range of animals including farm animals and game. The focus in this area is a hands-on experiences and activities of what is available – so come and have a go!

The Woolly Roadshow
The beloved Woolly Roadshow was launched in 2016 as an educational promotion of British wool, British sheep and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Joined by members of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, National Sheep Association and British Wool producers, the team here will be displaying native sheep breeds local to the area with hand-spinning and felting demonstrations, offering both an exciting exhibit and also many activities for children.

Spinners and Weavers 
Don’t miss out on the interesting daily demonstrations and activities that are our expert spinners and weavers have on offer at this year’s Show. We also have Shearing demonstrations throughout the three days run by Plumpton College. Whether you are a practising weaver, spinner or dyer or are interested in learning about our traditional crafts, you’ve come to the right place. Meet the experts and get involved for yourself and see just how creative you can be!

The Fleece Competition
This competition continues to grow from strength to strength and is generously sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Woolmen. The key objectives of this competition are to showcase the continued exceptional high quality of British wool and to highlight the difference that fleece presentation can make in terms of increasing the value of producers’ wool. Qualifiers of the competition will be judged in October at the British Wool head office.

Mantel Farms
A family run smallholding shop, training facility and animal boarding service in the heart of the East Sussex countryside. This small farm training group will be on hand to talk about farming on a small scale. The team here will be happy to talk to and encourage visitors to try this special way of life, either by enjoying the pleasures of keeping livestock, growing your own food or by simply buying local produce.

Hedge Laying Demonstrations
The theory behind laying a hedge is easy. The practice is much harder, requiring skill and experience. The South of England Hedge Laying Society will be promoting the traditional craft of hedge laying in the South of England style, including demonstrating, training and competitions. This tradition is one of the most interesting spectacles to watch and anyone with an interest should pop along to see, to learn and discover something new for themselves.

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The Countryside Hub

The South of England Agricultural Society is passionate about raising awareness and understanding of the countryside, food and farming and bringing valuable learning opportunities about the countryside and land-based industries.

Join us in The Countryside Hub within the Discover the Countryside zone where you can take a look at the schools competition entries in celebration of ‘50 Years of the South of England Agricultural Society’. Competition categories include ‘Grow any plants or vegetables with the display representing the number 50’; ‘Make a scrapbook showing 50 things you love about the Great British Countryside’ and ‘A 50 word poem about your photo of the Great British Countryside’, with a prize being awarded to the winner of each category for each Key Stage Group.

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