Agricultural success at 56th South of England Show

Tens of thousands of visitors flocked to the 56th South of England Show in Ardingly, West Sussex, (7th—9th June), including the South of England Agricultural Society’s 2024 President, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh.

This year’s event featured first-class agricultural and equestrian competitions and displays, a great range of trade stands, and impressive arena events, including jaw-dropping displays from Atkinson Action Horses, international showjumping, and grand livestock parades.

With increased cattle appearance and prize money, the show featured a strong livestock section with just under 800 entries and four new beef breed classes—Parthenaise, Belted Galloway, Galloway, and Belgium Blue cattle.

The Society held its first ‘live from the South of England Show‘ Farming Technical Forum, as well as live streaming it on social media, on the topic of ‘Cultivating Trust Between Farming & The Public‘ with a panel of experts and practitioners. In the Long Man Brewery Farmers’ Marquee, attendees could talk to NFU Deputy President David Exwood, NFU West Sussex Chair Andrew Strong, and representatives from Virgin Money, Knight Frank and Longbridge Regenerative. On the Saturday evening of the show, 300 enjoyed the free-of-charge ‘Stockman’s Dinner‘. In addition, The Rural Payments Agency were present at the show for direct engagement and information exchange.

The Vintage Agricultural Machinery Ring proved a huge hit for visitors with tractor and steam parades, and harvesting and baling demonstrations, as did the Story of Wool, with sheep farmers demonstrating shearing and talking to the public about their role in wool production. Spinners and weavers were also on hand, demonstrating their age-old skills.

New to the show this year was the Countryside Ring, which showcased the beauty of falconry, impressed with axe skills, and delighted with search-and-rescue dog demonstrations. Further additions included the Woodland Craft Area, with interactive demonstrations ranging from ancient basket-making skills to the art of hedge laying and even corn dolly making.

A Grape & Grain Walk and a new Gin Alley allowed visitors to sample and purchase from some of the finest vineyards, breweries and distilleries in the region. There was also the chance to meet representatives from the Society’s 2024 charity of the year – Veterans’ Growth – a charity from East Sussex that provides crucial support and resources to veterans through horticultural therapy.

When it came to the show’s livestock competitions, the 2024 Championship results were:

  • Inter Breed Supreme Sheep Champion – Southdown Aged ewe – Lizzie Sargent
  • Inter Breed Overall Pig Champion – Large Black – Framfield Diana 300 – Maria Naylor
  • Inter Breed Champion Dairy Goat – Nick Parr
  • Inter Breed Supreme Dairy Champion – Holstein – Wigboro Outlay Beechnut – John Smith
  • Inter Breed Supreme Beef Champion –  Charolais – Wissington Topwoman – Darren Knox
  • Super Cow – Ayrshire – Bobslot Jenny 2 – Maggie Howie
  • Inter Breed Dairy Breeders Group – Ayrshire – Maggie Howie
  • Inter Breed Best Dairy Pair – Ayrshire – John Smith
  • Inter Breed Champion Beef Pair – Limousin – Sam Drury
  • Inter Breed Champion Beef Male – Limousin – Cinderhill Upperclass – Ruby Drury
  • Inter Breed Champion Beef  Female – Charolais – Wissington Topwoman – Darren Knox

In a welcome message to visitors, the South of England Agricultural Society’s 2024 President, HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh, said:

“This show exists to bring people together to learn more about agriculture, to shine a light on our rural industries and showcase the very best that our food producers across the South East have to offer.”

Corrie Ince, Show Director for the South of England Agricultural Society, added:

“We’re delighted that this year’s show was another resounding success. We simply couldn’t put on this event without the support of those who attended, and we extend our sincere thanks to everyone who travelled to the event over the weekend, as well as our incredibly dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

“Our aim at the Society is to inspire people of all ages with a memorable, fun-filled visit that also informs and promotes the countryside and farming – and I think we’ve certainly achieved that once again. Across the weekend, I’ve seen genuine connections between attendees and hardworking farmers, landowners, and skilled craftspeople who have been here representing the South of England at its finest. I also hope that we’ve provided an opportunity for those in the agricultural sector to get together, catch up and celebrate their achievements.”

The Society’s next show is the Autumn Show & Horse Trials on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22ndSeptember 2024. Visitors can watch riders compete in the showjumping, dressage, and cross-country phases, and discover many countryside sports, displays, and ‘have-a-go’ activities, all designed to celebrate the joys of the countryside, and canine and equestrian pursuits. For more information or to book tickets, visit

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