Kent will host the British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival next week (11 and 12 October). A record crowd is expected at this two-day event, which is taking place at Marden, just south of Maidstone.
The National Ploughing Championships are expected to have a particular prominence this year because many local ploughing competitions have been forced to take the decision to cancel in the light of the wet summer and late harvest.
Over the last two decades England’s ploughing teams have proved to be one of
the most successful across the world.
Three past world ploughing champions, three past European champions and 10 ex-British champions will be taking part in the event this year.
The prize they are all chasing? Representing their country in the 2009 World Ploughing Contest, to be held in Slovenia.
Only one ploughwoman is taking part this year, 17 year-old Debbie Watson from Hallington, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Debbie is one of 17 young farmers who will be battling for the title of British Young Farmer’s Champion Ploughman on the first day and also a chance to compete with the other top qualifiers for a place in the finals on the second day to find the overall British National Champions.
The event features various styles of ploughing – modern tractors pulling conventional and reversible ploughs; three classes with vintage tractors pulling trailing, hydraulic and classic ploughs, and horse-drawn ploughs.
Visitors can see displays and working demonstrations of vintage tractors and machinery dating from the First World War through to the 1960s and an increasingly rare opportunity to see steam ploughing tackle at work.
One of the most popular events with spectators is likely to be the heavy horses, which gives visitors the chance to watch shire horses at work.
There will also be trade stands, machinery demonstrations and craft stalls.
The Championships will take place on land east of the B2079 road, just
south of Marden (off the A229 Maidstone road). It will be signed from
major roads in the vicinity.
Further information can be found on www.ploughmen.co.uk or from the Society of Ploughmen on 01302 852469.