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What’s featuring at the Dorset County Show this year

PUBLISHED: 11:06 12 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:06 12 August 2016

'Nige the Nose' one of the finest cheese graders in the country is at this year's county show

'Nige the Nose' one of the finest cheese graders in the country is at this year's county show


A legendary ‘nose’, rare breed pigs with bags of character and a thrilling new show jumping competition all feature at this year’s County Show

Help us to celebrate our 175th anniversary

The first Dorset County Show was held by the Dorchester Agricultural Society in 1840, the same year that Thomas Hardy was born and the Penny Black Stamp was issued. This year sees the culmination of the Society’s 175th anniversary and around the showground we will be the marking this special milestone. You will see hand milking in the Cattle Section, heritage bulbs in the Horticulture Tent and various displays and competitions.

We also want to stage an exhibition at this year’s Show of items from the last 175 years. We need your help to gather any photographs, leaflets, rosettes, trophies, badges, letters or press cuttings from the Society’s history. There will be round the clock security of this exhibition so your precious Dorset County Show mementoes will be safe. The Show Society is offering a bottle of champagne to the owner of the oldest artefact on display. Please email if you can help.

A charity ball

The Society has teamed up with the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust who are going to hold a charity ball in the Members’ Marquee following the Show. Weldmar will be holding a ball on Saturday 10 September. Find out more at their website

‘The nose’ has it

One of the world’s most expensive cheese graders, whose nose has been valued at £5m, is to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Country Land and Business Association business breakfast briefing.

Nigel Pooley, known as ‘Nige the Nose’ has spent more than 50 years in the dairy industry, and two decades with Somerset-based cheesemakers Wyke Farms. In that time he has graded more than 1.5m tonnes of cheddar with much of the milk coming from north Dorset’s dairy herds. “The lush, green Somerset grass is what makes the milk so rich and creamy and that makes our cheddar so delicious, combined with the skills of our highly experienced cheese graders,” says Nigel.

Stick or twist

History will be made at this year’s County Show with a new show jumping competition – the Mogers Drewett Stick or Twist Stakes.

The competition will run in two parts with separate start and finish lines. Show jumpers will complete the first part of the course and then have the choice of either electing to stick with their time or jump a special “joker” fence.

Jumpers successfully tackling the fence, which will be up to 40% higher than the other obstacles, will result in six seconds being deducted from their time taken in the first part of the competition. But faulting at the “joker” – either if the horse refuses or knocks down a poll – will lead to six seconds being added to their time taken.

With over £1,000 prize money and a top award of £350, the competition – to be held in the Main Ring on Saturday afternoon – is one of the most lucrative events at this year’s Show.

Hurry, hurry, hurry to the scurry racing

If you’re into thrills and spills, don’t miss the Scurry Racing in the Main Ring on Saturday. Scurry driving is a fast-paced equestrian sport in which a pair of ponies pull a carriage around a course of cones in the fastest time possible. Due to the small distance between the cones (170cm), accuracy is key around the course which has between 10-14 obstacles.

If you’re into something a little more stately, then the Peter Munt Coaching Marathon has classes for teams of horses to be driven to a military regimental or private road carriage, carrying no less than “six persons, drivers, servants and representatives of the Show included.”

Bringing home the bacon

Many readers may remember the ‘Tamworth Two’ – a pair of pigs that escaped while being unloaded from a lorry at an abattoir in Malmesbury, Wiltshire and successfully evaded capture for more than a week.

There will be plenty of these tenacious Tamworths at the showground this year as Dorset will be holding the national championships for this rare breed.

There are around 300 breeding sows in the UK and it has been on the Rare Breed Survival Trust list for the past 40 years. Ryan Perry, Tamworth Breeding Society spokesman, says the pigs have fantastic character: “Tamworths have developed a reputation for being a little mischievous but actually they have a brilliant temperament and are a great all round pig.”

Tickets please!

Tickets are available from the Dorchester Agricultural Society, Agriculture House, Acland Road, Dorchester DT1 1EF or online at For a full list of events go to our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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