Monday, 26 July 2021

Perfect weather for annual ploughing match

ABOUT 500 people attended a ploughing match in Dunsden on Sunday.

The annual event at Bishopsland is organised by the Henley and District Agricultural Association.

The day began with the traditional blessing of the plough by the Rev Stephen Cousins, chaplain of Shiplake College.

The match involved 50 ploughmen and women who were awarded points for the level, depth, uniformity and straightness of their furrows. Many took part in vintage vehicles.

Ben Bexx, of Emmens Close, Checkendon, won the Ron Vines Cup for the best young ploughman.

The 17-year-old, a former pupil of Langtree School in Woodcote, owns several tractors and won his first ploughing match in Hampstead Norreys last year. Terry Sayer, of Ridgewood, Henley, won the reversible plough class for entries of no more than five furrows.

Also taking part was Bernard Winnington, 86, from Sonning Common, who is the match’s oldest regular entrant.

Prizes were awarded by Lady Phillimore, who owns the farm and is this year’s association president.

Visitors enjoyed tractor and trailer rides and there were dozens of trade stalls and displays. These included terrier racing, heavy horse demonstrations and a log-splitting display by Lawrence Williams, of Caversham Heights, and Guy Champion, of Dunsden Green.

A new attraction this year was a traditional wooden roundabout and swings provided by Charlie Beech, from Bourne End.

The High Wycombe and District Poultry Society auctioned more than 100 birds including chickens, ducks, quails and peacocks.

Jo Taylor, the association’s manager, said: “The weather helped boost attendance and I think people are becoming more interested in country pursuits.

“The downpour on Saturday was horrible for the people setting up but it made for ideal ploughing conditions. There was moisture in the top level of soil and it helped to get the dust under control.

“We were delighted with the attendance and gate revenue. Sometimes we struggle to break even but this year we made a surplus.

“The feedback we had was fantastic so I can’t fault it. Everything went swimmingly.”

Next year’s match will be held on October 4.

Click here to see more photographs of the day, including tractors at work and visitors.

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