Country Smallholding played a key role at a special smallholder area at the 2009 Royal Show.

 The magazine sent a four-strong team to the show at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, from July 7-10, and sponsored an interactive theatre as well as having a prominent stand.

CS writers Tim Tyne, Victoria Roberts and Liz Shankland joined other experts answering visitors’ questions at the large smallholder marquee, and a variety of livestock areas proved very popular. Visitors were able to see Kune Kune pigs, poultry, some of Tim Tyne’s sheep from his smallholding in Wales, goats, a bee-keeping area and much more.

Country Smallholding editor Simon McEwan was delighted at the interest in the magazine, and said a special subscription offer proved a huge draw. “We were thrilled at the number of people who signed up to take the magazine – it was really beyond our expectations. It was also good to talk to so many people and we were so pleased that CS writers played such a prominent part in the event.”

This year’s Royal Show was the last in its 160 year history, but plans are afoot to launch special specialist events next year – one of them a dedicated smallholder show.

Simon was asked about this in an interview for Farming Today, on BBC Radio 4. He told presenter Anna Hill that such an event is likely to prove very popular. “If we had a dedicated event for smallholders, I think there would be huge interest.

“This seems to be a ‘a zeitgeist moment’ for self-sufficiency, with more and more people wanting to grow their own vegetables and keep chickens in their back gardens,” he said. “There are many reasons for this. One of them is cost – you can actually save a lot of money by growing your own food.”

Anna Hill asked Simon about the increasing interest in allotments, and he told her that Country Smallholding has run a campaign calling for councils and the Government to take more action to provide allotment space. “There are 100,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists, and we think that is a bit scandalous,” he said.

More than 114,000 people attended the final Royal Show. The attendance figure was 17,500 higher than recorded for the event in 2008, according to show organiser the Royal Agricultural Society of England, although the figure is still a long way short of crowd numbers during the show’s heyday in the 1970s and 1980s when about 250,000 visited the showground.

“We were delighted to attract so many visitors to this very special Royal Show,” said RASE marketing and communications director Denis Chamberlain. “We know that good business was done at the show and that the very high standards of livestock were maintained to the very end in a magnificent show and parade of cattle, sheep and pigs.”


To listen to the Radio 4 interview with Country Smallholding Editor Simon McEwan click below: