History of the show

History of The Holsworthy and Stratton Agricultural Show

The Holsworthy and Stratton Agricultural Exhibition was first held at Bude in 1883 in a field lent by Mr George Brendon. A name well known in the town today ie; The Brendon Arms. The sum of 350 pounds was raised by subscriptions in order to stage this first venture which proved to be a great success, when it was estimated that between 7000 and 8000 people passed through the turnstiles. A newspaper report of the time stated “The success of the undertaking was great beyond the most sanguine anticipations of the promoters”. “The members of the Royal Marine Band from Plymouth were engaged to perform music in the show yard, and a capital grandstand was erected to enable visitors the more conveniently to witness the trials of the horses and the jumping.”

There have been many changes over the past 125 years since the first venture, the only interruptions being two world wars plus an outbreak of foot and mouth.

Until a permanent ground was purchased following World War 2, venues alternated between the unions of Holsworthy and Stratton. The latest move to a much larger site at Killatree has proved to be a great success, as has the change of date from May to August.

Over the years, classes have changed with the times. Before the advent of farm machinery in 1885 it was reported that horses were the strong feature of the show, the total entries being 165. Holsworthy it stated & "is a noted horse breeding district"..the judges declared the horse entries to be the best seen outside a county show”. In 1886 65 Devon Ruby Cattle were entered, also of note there were 70 exhibits in the butter and cream classes. In those far off days, indeed until the revival of the show after the Second World War, the handful of trade stands were a very local affair. These days one can expect to have the opportunity of visiting up to 200 trade stands from all over the country.

The show now hosts a great variety of attractions. To name but a few the Large Livestock section, Horses, Showjumping, Flower and Craft tents, Food and Drink Marquee, WI and vintage displays, sheep shearing, refreshments galore, attractions for the children and a Bar tent for the thirsty.

Entertainment is provided throughout the day in the Haines Watts main ring and the All Coast Media entertainment ring as well as many other activities going on throughout the site.

All in all a great day out for all the family.