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Woolsery Agricultural Show is a popular family day out

Founded over 120 years ago, the Woolsery Agricultural Show started out as a competition for colts. It is now a great day out for families & farmers alike.
Whether you like cattle or crafts, fairground rides or tractor demonstrations, you’ll find it all at the Woolsery Agricultural Show which is traditionally held on the last Monday in July. All profits are donated to the Show President’s chosen charity which in the past has been well-deserving causes such as the Chemotherapy Unit at the North Devon District Hospital.

Woolsery Agricultural Show history

Located in the heart of the North Devon farming community, the event dates back to 1892. It began as the Woolfardisworthy Colt Show. The original purpose of the show was to allow local colts in the area, who were all sired by the same stallion, to compete and see which one was the best overall. Once the judging was over, everyone retired to the Farmer’s Arms for refreshments and to toast the winning colt.

The Colt Show became an annual event and eventually both the village and the show were renamed. The Woolsery and District Agricultural Show had more classes and a wider range of animals taking part. It expanded from a half day into a full day event in the 1970s and continues to grow in popularity and reputation. It is run entirely by volunteers and has been held every summer except during the war and when the Foot and Mouth epidemic was raging in 2001.

Currently Woolsery Agricultural Show takes place at Clovelly Court, home of the Rous family, which has six livestock rings for accommodating the various show events.

Livestock classes, crafts and more

With changing trends over the years, the Woolsery Agricultural Show has gradually evolved and now has more beef classes and less dairy animals. Native breeds are shown in both cattle and sheep classes. Tomorrow’s shepherds and cattle handlers get a chance to show their potential in the classes for junior shepherds and junior livestock handlers.

If you like equestrian events and showjumping, the show has plenty to keep you fully entertained. There are ridden and lead rein classes for hunters, mares and foals as well as the opportunity for show jumpers and working hunters to be put through their paces. It is always great to see the heavy carthorses on show as well as beautifully groomed Arabs, cobs, mountain and moorland breeds. You can always count on the carriage driving to provide more excitement as they compete around tight corners against the clock for a close finish!

If you prefer crafts to livestock, then head for the handicraft tent to see a good range of flower arrangements and plenty of home baking which is all judged very seriously, pitching neighbour against neighbour in friendly competition. The food tents offer a wonderful array of home cooking, cakes and snacks making lunch a real treat.

Like the Devon County Show, there are plenty of trade stands where tractors, clothing, food and drink, environmental products and farm machinery are on display for local farmers to browse and buy.

Family Entertainment at the Woolsery Agricultural Show

For families there are plenty of amusements, fairground rides, a bouncy castle, live entertainment and action to watch in the main arena. Mounted Games and the Young Farmer’s “It’s a Knockout” competitions require plenty of skill and more than a little luck to earn a prize. Hang around until the end of the show at 4:30pm to see the grand finale – a Parade of Vintage Machinery. This is surely not something you will ever get the chance to see elsewhere!

Have you attended an Agricultural Show in Devon such as the Woolsery Agricultural Show? What did you enjoy the most about your visit? Would you recommend it for other families, and if so why? We’d love to hear your point of view in the comments below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.


  1. Zaiva says:

    This looks like a fantastic way to show off British Agriculture, and also get people interested in helping to preserve it, not to mention the proceeds are going to great cause! I have always held people involved in agriculture in high regard, not to mention I have had a dream of becoming a farm owner myself for many years.

    We should all be working to preserve our land and the country we live in, and by opening up shows like this, it gives people a chance to show off the Britain that doesn’t hit the headlines that often, and open people’s eyes to the other beautiful side of our country. In my opinion, there is no better place to hold the show either, as Devon is probably the most stunning location in England, naturally. Hopefully it gives people a great opportunity to see the land that helps sustain the whole country.
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