The straightest furrow in Somerset

  • Ploughmen and women throughout the country are busy getting their equipment ready to take part in an event which is the highlight of their year

Over 250 competitors from all parts of Great Britain have been taking part in local ploughing matches in the past month or so, sharpening their skills in preparation to try and plough the straightest furrow in Somerset when they take part in the 2023 British National Ploughing Championships.  The event, combined with a country festival, will be held on land near Bishops Lydeard, Taunton, Somerset on 14th and 15th October.

This will be only the seventh time the Championships have been held in the county of Somerset in 72 years, and of those, it will be the third time it has been on the same farm when around 100 hectares (250 acres) will be loaned by K S Coles and Family.

You don’t have to be a ploughing enthusiast to visit the Championships as alongside the competitions, there will be new agricultural machinery demonstrations; trade stands; steam ploughing engines at work; static displays of vintage tractors and machinery; shopping stalls and a craft marquee.  To get around the vast site, tractors and trailers will be ready to transport visitors around.

It’s a unique way to see the changes in our farming heritage as everything can be seen working.   Vintage tractor enthusiasts will love to see all the old tractors working – there will be well over a hundred ploughing in the competitions each day and then plenty of static machinery to see with tractors, stationary engines, combines and steam with some exhibits dating back to the beginning of the last century.

Lovers of horses will enjoy seeing the magnificent heavy horses working – there are 18 pairs  entered on each day – some will be decked out in all their finery, some will come as they would have worked on a farm back in the day.  Whatever harness they wear, it will be a fantastic sight to see them all side by side.  Steam enthusiasts can see giant ploughing engines pulling a plough by cable between them, and there will be other steam exhibits to see.

For the ploughing enthusiast or for the curious, fifteen ploughing classes will be held over the two days – on the first day, reversible and conventional ‘world style’ ploughing, vintage trailed, hydraulic, classic and classic reversible ploughs will be vying to win a place in one of the ‘Plough-Off Finals’ on the second day. Horticultural, high cut ploughing and general purpose horse ploughing will complete the classes on the first day.

The second day will also see the Ferguson, Ford & Fordson and David Brown Ploughing Championships, along with high cut tractors, crawlers and high cut horse ploughing.  The Supreme Championship trophy will be awarded on the second day with some of the champions seeking a place to represent their country in the 2024 World or European Ploughing Championships.

The organisers of the Championships, the Society of Ploughmen, are a registered charity and Chief Executive, Sue Frith, commented: “Everyone can have a really great day out and the event always brings people together from rural and urban communities.  Whatever age, there is something to interest everyone be it reminiscing about the ‘olden days’ and what used to be seen on farms, to seeing the newest tractors and machinery in action.  We are hoping the weather will stay fine for us, but if it doesn’t boots and wellies will be available to buy in the trade stand area!”

Main sponsors of the Championships are Bridgestone Firestone and Aztec Oils and further support has been given by A R Demolition, Bridgwater Agricultural Society, Cheffins, Clarke Willmott, Dales Agri Sales Agency, Friends of Ferguson Heritage, Exmoor Skip Hire, Hunt Forest Group, Lantra and Tama Farm Grown Solutions.

Admission to the event is £15 per person on the day and just £2 for children. Discounted ticket are available in advance online.  The site will be easy to find, it’s about 6 miles north of Taunton, just off the A358 (Taunton to Minehead Road) and it will be signposted.  Further information and can be found on or from the Society of Ploughmen on  01302 852469, Facebook or Twitter.

Related news:

British Ploughing returns to Somerset