First poultry at Welsh Smallholder festival

One of the most impressive settings for any agricultural event in Britain must be the magnificent natural amphitheatre at Builth Wells.

It stages the Royal Welsh summer show, a highlight of the principality’s calendar, attracting over a quarter of a million visitors.

However, thanks to the current renaissance in smallholding, it’s spring smallholder festival has grown every year until it now has over 25,000 visitors.

Bizarrely, it’s never staged a poultry show, but in this, its 10th year, it did with an astounding response.

Serama bantams

The show manager, J W Parfitt from Seven Sisters, appears to be a man of extremes. He’s best known for his Jersey Giants, which are a huge breed weighing up to 15lbs, but recently he’s gone to the other extreme, showing the phenomenally small Serama bantams. Seramas can weigh less than 12oz and JW’s splendid male and female were real crowd pullers.

He had to constantly assure the inquisitive public that they were fully grown. Mysteriously this fascinating, curiously diminutive breed hasn’t become quite as popular as many predicted.

In 2008 the Serama club was welcomed into the bosom of the Poultry Club so it seemed inevitable that they would enjoy the same colossal surge in popularity as enjoyed by Dutch bantams.

However, this delightful breed sees its numbers increasing steadily and its future in Britain looks remarkably promising.

This event understandably attracts many exhibitors from across Offa’s Dyke. Huw Evans was making one of his regular return visits from his home in Evesham, Worcestershire, as he too originated in Seven Sisters.

Legendary breeders

Seven Sisters and the surrounding area of South Wales has a reputation for providing more than its fair share of first class, often legendary poultry breeders and exhibitors.

Huw won the hard feather championship with some one of his splendid large Carlisles, a particularly impressive Blue Grey male.

Another chap who’d made a long pilgrimage was Nobby Ward from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire.

Nobby brought along one of his memorable German Langshans, which took the ultimate prize of Supreme Show Champion.

Nobby believes that this Blue German Langshan is one of the best even- coloured that he’s ever produced.Judges appear to whole heartedly agree with him as this bird has won two other show championships at both Kent and Norfolk.

The future of this show is assured because of the genuine Welsh welcome and the cherished nurturing of its young exhibitors.

One such enthusiastic young member is Gethin Lewis whose family farm just outside Builth Wells. He had a remarkable day winning with his Marans, Wyandottes and Orpingtons. Gethin has appeared a number of times on BBC Wales with his traditional breeds. He seems a great ambassador for poultry.

If you want another excuse to return to this stunningly beautiful part of Wales the Royal Welsh Show is on 19 July.

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