Roll up for the biggest show in North Dorset

More reading: 11 brilliant reasons to visit Shaftesbury this summer

Update: Show jumping classes cancelled due to rock hard ground (Aug 6, 3pm)

THE annual migration of 25,000 people to the Motcombe Turnpike Showground takes place on Wednesday August 15 this year, such is the pulling power of North Dorset’s premier agricultural show.

The Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Show is the one that the farming community takes the day off for, with highly competitive sections for cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, poultry, rabbits, homecrafts, handicrafts, art and a huge range of classes for younger exhibitors, all need to be entered in advance.

This year, there’s a new Education Area – Farm, Food & Fun, which aims to show how milk, meat and grain are produced on local farms and how it eventually reaches the table, with lots of hands-on activities.

In the Harts of Stur Food Hall there are more than 60 food and drink producers, including a gluten-free bakery specialist, local wines and cheeses, speciality Greek food providers, hot pies to be eaten, beer and cider to be drunk, along with a huge range of takeaway hot foods.

There are more than 520 trade stands this year, a record for the show, with anything from schools to trucks and handicrafts. There are also 100 stands with tractors, machinery and farm suppliers. And there are displays in three rings: the main ring features the Imps Motorcycle Display team, which is made up of children aged 5-16. The east ring has a full day of horse showing classes and show jumping classes. In the Turnpike Ring, countryside sports include ferret and terrier racing, birds of prey, sheep dogs and the dog & duck display.

Back to the Show by popular request is the ‘Scare Crow Trail,’ whereby trade exhibitors make up a scarecrow that represents their business. Visitors are invited to buy a judging form (all funds to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) and select the best crows. There are prizes for the winning exhibitors – and to three visitors who voted.

Details: The Gillingham and Shaftesbury show (Postcode: SP7 9PL) is two miles is mid way between Shaftesbury and Gillingham on the B3081, and runs from 8.30am to 6.30pm. Tickets cost £13 in advance (£16 on the day). Free car parking and free bus service from many areas. Mobility scooters are available to hire for the Show day and must be pre-booked via or 01202 670450, Monday to Friday 11am – 3pm.