Sussex as a county is fairly unusual in that it has many of its own ‘local’ brands. From Sussex cattle, to Sussex hens, Sussex trugs, Sussex pudding, Sussex cheeses and now, of course, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. While we didn’t expect to see the Duke and Duchess at the Heathfield Show (not this year anyway) all the other fine Sussex products were on fine display at this year’s show.

A shop window for everything local, Heathfield Show always promises a fantastic gathering of the area’s agricultural community and this year didn’t disappoint. There was a wonderful feel good factor wandering around the showground and everywhere you turned there were familiar faces from the farming clan. From those who came to show their livestock, local riders competing in the horse show, local agricultural machinery companies selling their tractors, local accountants and estate agents offering hospitality to their clients and local volunteers helping to steward there was always someone to bump into and catch up with.

This year’s education marquee was organised by Plumpton College and the Sussex Young Farmers’ Clubs Federation. Working together they promoted how the young can become involved and learn more about the area where they live. From remote controlled tractors, DIY milking, identify the eggs and the smoothie bike, there were things for all to do and enjoy.

Being one of the first shows in the season Heathfield’s livestock competitions were well supported. This year witnessed more sheep entries than ever, with Wakeham-Dawson and Harmer’s 18-month-old shearling ewe Ridings Isabelle 15th being awarded the supreme sheep champion. Ridings Isabelle, who was bred from a home bred Isabelle line ewe and a home bred ram, also took supreme champion at the Surrey county show a few days later.

The livestock rings demonstrated stock handling at its very best and the young handlers classes always prove to be well supported. Separated into different age groups, the young handlers proudly exhibited their abilities and even the smallest children were seen skilfully handling large bulls (with a watchful parent in tow) and careering pigs. High Weald YFC was awarded the champion beef young handler; Adam Fagg from Rosette Jerseys was named the champion dairy young handler; the champion sheep young handler was Chloe Lovejoy, and the champion pig young handler Ted Hazebroek.

The Heathfield Show is famous for running qualifying classes for the equestrian world and many of the riders who qualify at the show go on to win national events. This year was no exception. With six rings running all day with horse events there was enough for all budding equestrians to quench their appetites.