You cannot live in Sussex, and not go to a ploughing match. And this weekend is your chance to do so because this Saturday (2nd October), Hurstpierpoint and District Agricultural Association are hosting their 115th ploughing match and show at Old Erringham Farm near Shoreham.
The importance of ploughing matches
Ploughing matches have been taking place across Sussex (and indeed across the UK) for over 100 years and in some cases for as long as 150 years! Mainly held in the autumn, but with some in the spring too, this is not a high octane event (unless you’re a competitor) but it is a chance to see a traditional and historic way of life. And of course for kids that love tractors, it’s a small slice of heaven.
The ploughmen turn up early and judging is done independently with points awarded for straightness, neatness and evenness, with the fact that someone has to go behind and cultivate the land kept firmly in mind. The winners go on to the regional and even the national championships and there are different categories which include classic vintage tractors and ploughs as well as a horse-drawn team.
Cakes, catering and competitions
If ploughing or watching ploughing isn’t your cup of tea, then head to the marquee where there’s some good old fashioned WI style fun. There are 23 competition categories described as cookery, handicraft, flowers and a novelty dog show! These include such heady delights as cake and jam making, mocktails, poetry, photography, recycled creations and a whole lot more. There are also a number of specific classes for children of certain ages and of course, local food and drink on offer.
Head to Shoreham
Old Erringham Farm near Shoreham is a stunning venue that has views of Lancing College, the sea and even Rampion Wind Farm. I have to confess, this sort of event was the backdrop to my youth of the 1970s, and I have happy memories of lazy days spent dangling my legs from a hay bale with a stolen can of Fanta and a piece of cake.
The day starts at 9 am although I am reliably told the real action doesn’t start until after 10 am and if you’ve never been to a ploughing match or fancy showing off your latest creative endeavour, well, now is your chance! I’ll see you there.
You’ll find all the details on the Hurstpierpoint & District Ploughing Match Facebook page or turn up at Old Erringham Farm, BN43 5FD.