As Chairman of the County Show, it’s Graham Biss’s job to ensure that everything is ‘sheep shape’. And he’s pleased to report that his team are on track to put on ‘the show of the summer’ on Sunday 30 August.
The Royal Isle of Wight County Show promises to be a ‘right rural day out’ with animal parades, falconry displays, and lots of activities including clay pigeon shooting and tractor rides.
“Get here early to make the most of the day”, says Graham, “The gates open at 9am and there’s a lot to pack in before the cows go home at 5pm.”
If you’re a biker or walker, then head for the Red Squirrel Trail that runs between Cowes and Newport, and turn off at Medham and follow the designated paths. “It’s easy to walk here – I’ve just managed it with two sheep!” says Graham.
During his stroll, a passing cyclist yelled: “That’s a new one!” While another called out: “Hope you’re not taking them to a BBQ!”
The two sheep – Judith and Lamb Chop – are owned by Hazel Moody, whose family have supported the Show for generations. She’s exhibited sheep on many occasions, and Judith (the larger sheep) is a prize winner, thanks to her elegant lines. “Sheep don’t mind walking, so I walk mine across the fields to the County Show”, says Hazel. “I don’t have a sheep dog but they do like rich tea biscuits, so I rattle a packet if I need to round them up!” Hazel’s pal, Anita Stay, is another regular at the Show, but more familiar with horses than sheep. “I think I’ll stick to horses!” she joked, as Lamb Chop made an unexpected leap into the air.
There’s a special entrance for everyone who walks (with or without sheep) or uses sustainable transport. Head for the White Entrance so you can beat the queues. There’s also bike parking at the Showground next to the White Entrance.
If you’re coming by car, then there’s a free car park with designated disabled parking. But it’s much easier if you park and ride at Somerton (off the Aldi Roundabout at Cowes) or at the Isle of Wight College in Newport. The No 1 bus will drop you right outside the Showground.
Southern Vectis is offering a deal for the day – a County Show Group Rover which will take up to 5 members of your family and friends all over the Island for just £15 for 24 hours’ unlimited travel. This means you can leave the car at home, and maybe enjoy a drink or two at the Village Green pub. You can book the Group ticket through the clickit2ride App.
Graham adds: “Don’t forget to bring your dog – they’re welcome on all Southern Vectis buses – and then enter the Fun Dog Show when you get here. There are all kinds of categories, so if your dog looks like you, or has a really waggy tail, then they could be a champion! We’ll see you there!”
Tickets are available online now from iwcountyshow.co.uk for £11 for adults (or £12.50 on the gate) and it’s free for U16s with a paying adult.
Graham Biss, Chairman of the Royal Isle of Wight County Show
Hazel Moody (striped top) who keeps sheep – her family own the field next to the County Showground which is used as a carpark
Anita Stay (plain white top) – a County Show regular
Judith the Suffolk sheep (bigger sheep) and Lamb chop, a Suffolk cross Charollais
All photos were taken on the Red Squirrel Trail between Cowes and Newport, travelling from Newport on the way to the County Showground