THE annual Royal Three Counties Show this evening ended a successful three day extravaganza on its permanent showground in Malvern.
Sunny and dry weather saw the crowds flocking to the 60-acre site over the weekend period to enjoy the best of the world of agriculture as well as many other attractions.
There was just about something for everyone – from A for artists, antiques and archery through to W for Women’s Institute - and even to Z for Zwartbles, a breed of domestic sheep originating in the Friesland region of the north Netherlands.
There were activities for young and old, action and adventure in the main ring with attractions such as the Bolddog Lings motorcycle stunt team and displays from the Red Devils - the Parachute Regiment’s Freefall Team, and a host of browsing and shopping opportunities at the scores of tradestands.
The opening day of the show on Friday saw a visit from the Government’s environment minister, Owen Paterson, who spent five hours touring the showground and meeting farmers and landowners.
He told them that the controversial shooting of badgers to help eradicate bovine TB appears to have had a “beneficial impact” on the disease.
There have been two pilot culls to date, on the south Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border and in Somerset, and although they failed to hit the target figures, Mr Paterson said that initial studies of the resulting data were “promising”.
While he was meeting exhibitors, farmers and stallholders temperatures climbed into the mid-20s Centigrade, and police and RSPCA officials had to break into several vehicles to rescue dogs suffering from the heat after they had been alerted by car park staff.
The show’s communications manager, Sharon Gilbert, said: “Our advice always to anyone coming to the show is not to bring their dogs."
She added: "Dogs, apart from any that may be involved in some of the show’s attractions, are not allowed onto the showground anyway and to leave them in cars in hot sunny weather is just irresponsible.”
When she opened the three day event, the show’s president, Dame Janet Trotter, said it presented a great educational opportunity.
She said: “Many of our visitors have little idea about farming or where our food really comes from and this is a great chance to promote the hard work of our farmers and producers.”
Cattle entries at the show reached record levels and look as if they could be taking the newly-Royal food farming and countryside spectacular one step closer to becoming England’s premier livestock event.
The historic show, organised by the Three Counties Agricultural Society, was able to boast a grand total of 970 cattle entries this year – around 30 beasts up on the last record entry in 2012, when the breed societies were out in force with their national shows.
Even more significantly, the beef entry is now higher than that of the Great Yorkshire Show and The Royal Highland Show – both major events on the livestock showing circuit.
In general livestock entry levels were up across the board on 2013 numbers with 2,470 sheep, an increase of 169 from last year, close on 400 pig entries – including rare breeds - and almost 300 goat entries. Additionally, poultry entries were just under 800 and alpacas just over 100.
The photographs give a glimpse of what the show had to offer visitors.