By Rachael Parkin
July marks the beginning of the Lake District’s agricultural show season. Being a predominantly rural landscape The Lake District has sheep, lots and lots of sheep. Breeds such as the famous Herdwick along with other forms of livestock play an important role within the Cumbrian economy. Consequently, agricultural shows, which bring farmers and traders together, are important events, both economically and socially, growing bigger and more popular as each year passes.
Around 20 shows are held each year in Cumbria and the Lakes of varying sizes. Whilst livestock judging is a key theme for most of these events, these shows all have something else to offer visitors and families too - such as food stalls, fairground rides, and sports competitions. Many also feature traditional Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling tournaments – a sport dating all the way back to the Viking era!
A visit to one of these traditional shows makes for an entertaining and enlightening day out and offers the opportunity to gain an insight into the Cumbria farming community and way of life.
Ulverston and North Lonsdale Agricultural Show
Longrigg Farm, Urswick, Ulverston, LA12 0ST, Wednesday, 31st July 2019
A great event for the whole family. Along with more traditional aspects of agricultural shows, such as livestock judging this show is packed with things to do. There are hands-on experiences, such as a mini petting zoo, plus entire zone for entertaining children. Cookery demonstrations take place in the food hall where you will find a plethora of local goods to try and buy, and there’s live entertainment with comedy and music.
Cockermouth Show, The Fitz, Low Road, Cockermouth, CA13 0HH
Saturday, 3rd August 2019
An action-packed day for all the family featuring animal judging, sheepdog demonstrations, sheep clipping demonstrations, Cumberland and Westmoreland Wrestling and crafts.
Cartmel Show, Cartmel Racecourse, Near Grange over Sands, LA11 6QF
Wednesday, 7th August 2019
Featuring the enormously popular Shetland Pony Grand National; tackling a miniature version of the real Grand National course. The show also features terrier racing, parading heavy horses in their finery as well as a focus on local gourmet delicacies. There’s freshly baked bread, cakes and chocolates, local cheeses, meats and pies, plus locally produced gins, & beers. Demonstrations from top local chefs will take place in the Food Theatre. There’s plenty for little ones too; from archery and a bucking bronco to circus skills, a bouncy castle and birds of prey. Also includes stalls selling handmade gifts, country clothing, homewares, outdoor and leisure goods.
Lowther Show, Lowther Castle, Lowther, Penrith, CA10 2HG
10 & 11th August 2019
The beautiful grounds of the Lowther estate is the delightful setting for this large country show. This is one of the larger agricultural shows in Cumbria with something to suit all interests and tastes. The main arena features displays from horses and birds of prey. Includes the Lowther Hound show and the mini Folk Roots Festival is sure to be a hit with music lovers. There are various competitions in country pursuits, as well as opportunities for members of the public to try certain activities, such as falconry and clay shooting. There are wildlife displays, inflatables, trampolines and hundreds of trade stalls selling crafts, food and more.
Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show, Rydal Park, Ambleside, LA22 0PL
Thursday, 15th August 2019
Smaller than many of the other agricultural shows, the Rydal Sheepdog and Hound Show takes a more traditional approach with sheepdog trials being the main focus of this show taking place in the heart of the Lakes.
Gosforth Show, Gosforth Showfield, Seascale, CA20 1HT
Saturday, 17th August 2019
This small village in West Cumbria sees hundreds of visitors return each year to this quirky event where you can see dancing and racing sheep. Along with livestock competitions, there is show jumping demonstrations, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, sporting events for children, a tug-of-war battle, live music, and trade stands selling a variety of goods and food.
Lakeland Country Fair, Torver, LA21 8AU
Sunday, 18th August 2019
The Lakeland Country Fair takes place at Torver, near Coniston, in beautiful countryside looking across to the Coniston fells and Coniston Old Man. The Lakeland Country Fair offers something for all the family - as well as numerous Trade Stands there is a childrens' area with bouncy castle, roundabout and other sideshows. There is a licensed bar, home-made refreshments and a barbecue.
Hawkshead Show, Hawkshead Hall Farm, Hawkshead, LA22 0NN
Tuesday, 20th August 2019
Author Beatrix Potter was also an award-winning sheep farmer. Potter spent many years living close to the quaint village of Hawkshead and regularly entered (and won) the show’s judging competitions for her livestock. Today, the show still has an extensive selection of classes for livestock competitions, and there is plenty for members of the public to see. There are hound trails, show jumping, and dog displays. You will also find horticultural displays here, as well as local crafts, plus a good number of trade stalls.
Grasmere Sports, The Showfield, Stock Lane, Grasmere, LA22 9SL
Sunday, 25th August 2019
Grasmere Sports primarily features sporting events, but still features many aspects that are found elsewhere in agricultural shows, such as hound trails, and sheepdog demonstrations.
Livestock judging is largely absent, replaced instead with a selection of sporting activities such as track racing, tug-of-war, mountain bike racing, and fell running, with different categories for children and adults. Today it’s a popular event, and in addition to the sporting activities, there is live music and market stalls.
Black Combe Country Fair, Bootle Village, LA19 5TJ
Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August 2019
This is a popular event, attracting a few thousand attendees each year. The event has numerous classes for dog show awards, as well as dog racing, a fell race, a vintage vehicle display, fell pony rides, and a fell race. There are activities for children, as well as a good number of trade stands, food stalls and an all-important beer tent.
Keswick Show, Pump Field, Braithwaite Old Bridge, Braithwaite, Keswick, CA12 5TD
Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August 2019
One popular draw of this show is the array of horses performing stunning tricks in the show-jumping arena. This is a large show with thousands of visitors each year, and there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. You’ll find livestock competitions, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, sheepdog demonstrations, trade stands, a craft tent selling locally produced goods, and a huge children’s area with activities for all ages, all located on the edge of the pretty town.
Ennerdale Show Kirkland Leaps, Kirkland, Frizington, CA26 3XZ
Wednesday, 28th August 2019
Beginning life as a flower show at the end of the 19th century, livestock competitions were later added, and the show has continued to grow each year since. All of the traditional Cumbrian show features are here, including livestock shows, wrestling, vintage vehicles, hound trails, children’s sports, and a fell race.