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Thousands turnout for Royal Welsh countryside festival 2024

The thrilling scurry driving competitions were back in the Festival Display Ring.

It felt like Spring had certainly arrived in Mid Wales this weekend as thousands gathered to enjoy a sunny fun-filled couple of days at the Royal Welsh Smallholding and Countryside Festival.

The two-day event celebrates the many aspects of rural life, showcasing the real diversity of the Welsh countryside, and proved to be a great day out for young families, dog-lovers, smallholders, and gardeners.

Credit: The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society

A centrepiece of the event, the Smallholders Centre, provided opportunities for visitors to benefit from a wide variety of information. Smallholding farmers were able to learn about all sorts of interesting activities, including talks on getting started with their farming journey, workshops on making cheese and soap from goat’s milk, beekeeping, and no-dig gardening demonstrations.
There was plenty on offer for gardeners and horticulturalists as Farming Connect Horticulture once again took over the Members Centre for the Growers Market, giving growers the opportunity to showcase and sell their products over the two days.

The Smallholding and Countryside Festival is always filled with exciting entertainment, and this year was no exception. From woodchopping and forestry competitions, to the Medieval Re-enactment Camp, there was a wealth of different rural crafts on display.

Emma’s Donkeys Llanidloes proved a big hit with kids and adults alike in the County Life Area!

The Country Life Area was bustling with have-a-go activities, such as the children’s cycling course, a small breeds petting farm, circus skills from the Panic Family Circus, donkey rides with Emma’s Donkeys Llanidloes, the Swansea Beekeepers Experience, and a fun fair. The event is great for dog lovers, with hundreds of dogs competing to qualify for Crufts 2025 at the Premier Open Dog Show, and the fun novelty dog show hosted by our feature county of Ceredigion.

It was fantastic to welcome local charity Play Radnor this year, whose aim is to enhance the development and well-being of children by providing quality play provision and raising awareness of the importance of play. Many kids enjoyed the activities and facilities on offer over the weekend.

The Festival is an ideal event for those just starting out in the showing world.

Attracting competitors and smallholders from near and far, the livestock and equine competitions had an excellent line-up of animals in all sections. For many, the Festival is an introduction to the showing world, and a first step up the ladder to exhibiting at larger events. It’s a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the more traditional, rare, and native breeds and for the public to appreciate all the various breeds from across the UK.

Geraint James, the Honorary Festival Director was delighted with how the event went. “We were blessed with excellent weather throughout the weekend, and everyone was excited to be back in Llanelwedd to kick-start the show season.

The Festival compliments the other two larger society events (Royal Welsh Show and Winter Fair) and provides our visitors a relaxed, family-focused event with a wonderful friendly atmosphere. As dogs are welcome too, it really is the perfect family day out.”

The RWAS is passionate about promoting the versatility of wool and the creations that can be made of the material. The Meirionnydd Shearing Centre showcased Woolhandling and Blade Shearing Competitions, for both novice and intermediate classes, along with a Vintage Shearing Display. Next door in the Craft Art & Education Hall, visitors enjoyed demonstrations from the Gwent Guild of Spinners and Weavers and many wool-related tradestands.

The Festival Display ring was jam-packed with entertainment throughout the two days. Crowds gathered to watch show jumping and working hunter competitions, Dangerous Steve’s quad and motorbike performance, the Paws for Thought Dog Display team’s agility tricks, Scurry Driving competitions, Meirion Owen and his sheepdogs, along with the spectacular display of The Hackney Horse & Pony Driving.

No Royal Welsh event would be complete without its offering of food and drink and this year’s Festival didn’t disappoint. As well as the Food Hall which hosts producers showcasing the very best produce from Wales, the popular Welsh Food Village, Glwedd | Feast was bustling throughout the weekend with people taking a moment to relax and enjoy an ice cream in the sunshine whilst listening to live music from local performers.

“We are very pleased with how popular the new Welsh Food Village, Gwledd | Feast was with our visitors, particularly the live music stage. The area was busy throughout the weekend with the artisan Welsh producers reporting a brisk trade from happy customers.” said Geraint James.

“The Smallholding and Countryside Festival has been the perfect way to begin the show season,” said Aled Rhys Jones, RWAS Chief Executive. “The weather has been glorious, and the atmosphere fantastic. So many families have told me how much they have enjoyed bringing their children to the event and taking part in all the activities.

“We are so fortunate to have tremendous support from our sponsors, traders, competitors, and visitors at all our events, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back in July for the summer Show.”

The success of the weekend bodes well for the upcoming Royal Welsh Show, to be held on 22 -25 July, just nine weeks away! Book now for discounted ticket prices.