Trumpet and District Agricultural Society's Ploughing Match

PUBLISHED: 11:49 11 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:08 20 February 2013

Ploughing on

Ploughing on

In 1943 the Trumpet Home Guard began a hedging competition. And on October 7th the sun was shining for the 67th Trumpet and District Agricultural Society's Ploughing Match at The Green Farm in Felton

In 1943 the Trumpet Home Guard began a hedging competition. Over the years it has flourished into a ploughing match that attracts people from all over the country. And on October 7th the sun was shining for the 67th Trumpet and District Agricultural Societys Ploughing Match at The Green Farm in Felton. Debbie Graham met the match-makers.

Ian Pomeroy from Evesham is here to watch his son Andrew who is competing in the horticultural single furrow section with his pedestrian-operated 1940s trusty tractor.

Its a social event. We have come to see friends. We know everybody. This is our hobby. I have got about 10 of those things and loads of other horticultural stuff. Vintage lawn mowers, you name it I have got it. I have collected since I was in my mid-20s, and I am 65 now and I am just fascinated by it. I just love it.

My wife goes absolutely mad every time I go out with the horse trailer as she thinks I am getting another tractor. Everything goes up in the air and then she comes back down again. After 46 years she is beyond caring.

Spectators Victoria Hawkins and Alicia Long have a 500 acre farm on the Brockhampton Estate near Bromyard. We farm and we have left them ploughing at home but we thought wed better come and see how its done here, says Victoria. Just watching the skill and precision and how many times the men jump off and measure that they have got it right is fantastic. They are much more engaged with what the soil is doing on the smaller machines. They just seem more connected.

It is incredible, to think they actually did ploughed this way, now you just get on a tractor, says Alicia,

I am just in awe of the horses, adds Victoria. How they can be manoeuvred and made to do what you want.

But on their farm its modern technology all the way; the bigger the better! they cry in unison and it seems Alicias son little Isaac agrees: He is a total stereotype of a farm boy, all machinerys good, any machinery. Even a flat-bed trailer is exciting, Victoria laughs.

Doreen Pocknell from Westons Cider is working the field, handing out glasses of cider to the thirsty competitors. Well, what other drink would you expect? This is, after all, Herefordshire and cider is the Herefordshires ploughman drink of choice. She has worked for Westons just down the road in Much Marcle for 47 years and says the Trumpet Ploughing Match is one of her favourite events.

You meet so many different people and a lot of them are old friends.
And she admits the competitors expect a refreshing glass or two.

One such is John Cole from Ross-on-Wye who takes this opportunity for a quick break. I was born and bred on a farm and worked on a farm for 20 years but ended up becoming a house husband. So I stay at home to look after my little girl and this is my fix. Theres a lot more skill involved than pulling levers. Its nice to do it the old-fashioned way.

The judges look for straight, uniform furrows with all the rubbish buried, you know straight away whether it is good or bad, says John.

Today, he says, is the crme de la crme of ploughing competitions. You always get a lot of competition and obviously more competition brings out the best in you. And he adds that events like Trumpets play a crucial part in promoting the countryside. There are a lot of people who dont realise what goes on on farms and this is a good advert. I bet 50 per cent of the people here have never been in a field before. Kim Williams and daughter Faye from Taynton, near Newent, are ploughing in the assisted class, with their beautiful Dutch draught horses Annie and Casper who came over from Holland last year.

Ploughing was something I always wanted to do but its having the confidence. But what you do is practice and practice at home, says Kim.

Faye who is in charge of the horses and drives them while Kim is master of the plough says: I drive the horses and if they go a bit wrong it is usually my fault. I like it when the horses work as a team but we have had some difficulties this morning. Annie was a little bit temperamental, shall we say. She has strops now and then but they seem to be working well now, which is good. They have a bit of a love-hate relationship; they dont like to be separated but Annie makes sure she tells Casper she is the boss.

Inside the ladies tent ladies chairman Gwyneth Williams from Tarrington, is in charge. Here it is not all about ploughing and the judges are busy judging the craft, cookery, flowers, photography and art classes.

It is so lovely to be asked to be chairman and having a day like today is gorgeous, says Gwyneth.

You see that everything is going well and you do all you can in the year to help all the fundraising put on for this wonderful event in October every year. The ladies section is wonderful today and it looks beautiful in here. I think its just the icing on the cake for the whole day. It is a ploughing match, so the ploughmen are most important but this is something to bring the ladies to the match.

Gwyneth has been involved with the society since her early teens. I really do enjoy the ploughing and I know a lot of ploughmen. My father and brother were ploughmen so I have always been among the ploughing, she says.

These events are special for rural life and bringing all of it together. The atmosphere is fantastic, it is wonderful and we just keep hoping we can keep going for years to come because it is special.

And few would disagree when she says: This is a lovely show isnt it?

Pictures by Anna Lythgoe

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