Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Ploughing match blessed with sunshine

HUNDREDS of people attended the 125th annual Henley ploughing match in glorious sunshine on Sunday

HUNDREDS of people attended the 125th annual Henley ploughing match in glorious sunshine on Sunday.

The event, which is organised by the Henley and District Agricultural Association, took place at Frizers Farm in Sonning Eye and involved more than 50 ploughmen and women with tractors, horses and even donkeys.

Rain the previous day had softened the ground, which made the work easier.

The day began with the traditional blessing of the plough by Rev Stephen Cousins, the association’s chaplain, before competitors set to work on their designated plots.

They were judged on criteria such as straightness of their furrows, uniformity and “burying the track”, which means ploughing over marks left by the wheels of their tractor.

Bryony Gill, who has appeared on the BBC’s Countryfile, competed with her two shire horses, Brave Lad and Angel.

The overall champion was Hugo Hoyle, while there was a third place in the open class for 17-year old Sophie Horler, who took part on her grandfather Tony’s Massey Ferguson 135.

Other attractions included a heavy horse village, featuring displays by working horses and demonstrations of logging and dray-pulling, a dog show and ferret and terrier racing.

There was also a working machinery display and a poultry auction as well as agricultural trade stands featuring bee keepers, spinners, weavers and wood turners. Visitors could be ferried around the site on a large trailer pulled by a tractor.

Henley Show manager Jo Taylor said: “The weather was really good and we had a good crowd.

“The setting up was quite difficult with the rain on Saturday but I understand the wetter soil is better for ploughing. The heavy horse village has grown and we had more than 25 horses this year. The dog show had about 50 entries.

“I’ve been doing this for seven years and it’s certainly a bigger event than when I started. It’s growing every year and we are always trying to bring new things on board.

“I think it’s popular because it's very traditional. It’s a really good event for the farming community and also for the public to understand farming.”

For the results and more pictures, see this week's Henley Standard.

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