21 June 2002

THETASTEOFRURALFLAVOURS

THE Countryside Arena is a popular Royal Show feature providing a mixture of topics with a rural flavour, and this year is no exception.

The list of special attractions this year could hardly be more varied, and they are also up-to-date with a guest appearance by a pair of owls that are closely related to the owls included in a recent Harry Potter film. The owls in the Royal Show display are said to be siblings of those in the film, and they will be taking part in a special display of falconry skills in the Countryside Arena.

The programme also includes a dog training feature covering hounds and gun-dogs, and there will also be hundreds of dogs with quite different skills taking part in the Pedigree Agility Stakes where they have to perform against the clock.

Country sports enthusiasts can also demonstrate their particular skills at archery, fly casting and clay pigeon shooting, and if they want to brush up their performance there will be free tuition available from a team of experts. Another opportunity to try out your skills is on the Royal Shows world class off-road driving course. Many leading 4X4 manufacturers and importers will have vehicles available, so this is an ideal opportunity to take a test drive in the off-roader you fancy under really challenging conditions.

As well as the practical skills, the Countryside Arena also offers an ideal opportunity to find out more information about a wide range of topics. Representatives from a long list of organisations including the Countryside Alliance, the Game Conservancy Trust and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation will be available to answer questions and to provide ideas and advice on environmental issues and topics such as game management on agricultural land and wildlife friendly farming methods.

There will also be information and entertainment from Chris Green, the original Country Man. He will be spending the Royal Show in the Countryside Arena talking about wildlife and nature conservation.