Good ground for Britain’s ploughmen and women

  • The country’s top ploughmen and women showed off their skills in Somerset last weekend when the 72nd British National Ploughing Championships were held at Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton by kind permission of K S Coles and family

Heavy rainfall the day before made getting on and off the site tough for the competitors and the trade companies who were in attendance, though it left ploughing conditions good.  However, a warm sunny weekend brought out spectators in their droves and thousands attended to see the champions at work in the various categories.

Over 250 competitors had entered to plough over the weekend and the British Reversible Plough-Off Final was won by William Tuper from Pulborough, West Sussex with 322 points.  William was ploughing with a John Deere tractor and Kverneland plough and finished 32 points ahead of Thomas Sutton from Burton on Trent, Staffordshire who was using a Fendt tractor and Kverneland plough.

The British Conventional title went to Ashley Boyles from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire who was using a Massey Ferguson/Kverneland combination.  This is the sixth time Ashley has won the title and he finished 10 points ahead of another former British Champion, Nigel Vickers from Malpas, Cheshire.   William and Ashley have now qualified to represent England in the 2024 World Ploughing Contest which will be held in Estonia.

There were four vintage Plough-Off Finals and in the Vintage Trailed Plough-Off Final, Trevor Johnstone from Wigton, Cumbria took first place with his Standard Fordson and Ransome RSLD plough, with 281 points.  Second place, with 267 points was last year’s champion, John Crowder from Sturton by Stow, Lincolnshire, also using Fordson/Ransome.

The Vintage Hydraulic Plough-Off Final was won by reigning champion, Richard Ingram from Atherstone, Warwickshire using a Massey Ferguson 35 and Ransome TS54 plough.  Since the vintage finals were introduced in 2017, Richard has won five out of six.  He gained 282 points and a massive lead over runner-up, Ian Berriman from Driffield, East Yorkshire who scored 246 points with the same tractor and plough combination.

The Classic Championship title was won by Jon Cole from Whitchurch, near Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, ploughing with his Nuffield 10/42 and Ransome TS86 plough.  With 240 points, he had just a 4 point lead from second place Ray Alderson from Bolam, County Durham, who finished with 236 points.

Stephen Watkins from Maltby, South Yorkshire won the Classic Reversible title with his Massey Ferguson 35 and Ransome TS82 plough.  Stephen is also the current European Classic Reversible Champion, winning his title in the Netherlands last month.  He was just 3 points ahead Graham Sutton from Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

All of the vintage winners qualify to take part in the 2024 European Vintage Ploughing Championships in the Republic of Ireland.  The Overall Vintage Champion, judged independently, was Trevor Johnstone who was also crowned 2023 Supreme Champion.

The other main titles over the weekend were the Overall Horse Ploughing Champion, won by Martin Kerswell from Fordingbridge, Hampshire; the Overall Young Farmers Champion which was taken by 20-year old Josh Bullard from Royston, Hertfordshire and the High Cut Ploughing Champion, won by Derek Needham from Kings Lynn, Norfolk.

Sue Frith, Chief Executive of the Society of Ploughmen, who organised the Championships said, “It was a testing time for our volunteers when the rain came but all went well in the end.  Our hosts were absolutely fantastic, not only providing a great site but their hospitality was second to none and everyone who attended, either taking part or spectating, enjoyed it.”

Main sponsors of the event were Firestone and Aztec Oils and further support was given by Lantra, Clarke Willmott, AR Demolition, Cheffins, Dales Agri Sales Agency, Parris Tractors, Hunt Forest Group  and Tama UK.  Full results can be found on

Next year’s event –  the 73rd British National Ploughing Championships – will be held on 12th and 13th October 2024 on the Thoresby Estate, near Newark, Nottinghamshire by kind permission of Thoresby Farming.

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