Young Bideford farmers bring their Jacob sheep to the Devon County Show
By tinap | Thursday, May 09, 2013, 12:20
When 25 year old Charlotte Slee from North Devon brought three Jacob sheep 10 years ago, little did she think it would be the start of a prize-winning flock.
Young Bideford farmers Charlotte and Christopher Slee with their prize-winning flock of Jacobs
Now she runs the Halsbury Flock with her brother Christopher, aged 22, on their parents farm at Buckland Brewer near Bideford.
At this year's Devon County Show - May 16 to 18 - they hope to recreate the triumph of last year when they went away with a coveted Special Prize (for the most points gained by a livestock exhibitor aged under 35) and an armful of rosettes.
Charlotte, who works full time on the farm, said: "Last year we had great success in the show rings and we'd love to be able to do even better this year."
The pair has been preparing their flock of Jacobs for many months alongside working with their parents – John and Marilyn – who run a commercial sheep flock.
At the Show they will split their time between the show rings and the West Country Crafts Marquee where they will sell their luxurious woollen products.
"Jacobs' wool has many soft, natural colours in the fibre and it looks and feels wonderful when made up. Christopher decided to explore the market and has developed a range of woollen throws and products for the home.
"Traceability is of upmost importance to us and everything we're bringing to the Show is made from 100 per cent Halsbury Jacob wool," added Charlotte.
Handicrafts are flourishing and the huge craft marquee will be packed with talented artisans including traditional spinners and weaves, lace makers and quilt makers.
Show Secretary Ollie Allen said: "There seems to be a huge resurgence of interest in homecrafts and we're delighted to welcome a huge selection of west country hand made products to this year's Show."
In total there will be around 1,400 sheep, along with 500 cattle, about 300 camelids, 1,400 horses, more than a 1,000 dogs and lots of pigeons, poultry, rabbits and cavies (guinea pigs). Among the cattle will be national shows for Britain's largest native breed, the South Devons, and its smallest, the Dexters.
The Show is a great celebration of the Devon countryside and provides excellence and entertainment in equal measure.
Advance tickets offering savings are on sale now from the showground, tourist information centres and online. New this year are downloadable online tickets and an online cut off time of midnight on Wednesday, May 15.
Once again up to three children (aged 5 to 15) get free admission on Saturday when accompanied by a paying adult and senior citizens are eligible for the buy-one-get-one-free offer on all three days of the Show as long as they buy their tickets in advance.