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The Countryside Matters at Isle of Wight Show

The CLA is hoping to gain local support for its new ‘The Countryside Matters’ campaign at this year’s Royal Isle of Wight County Show.
The campaign aims to unite people who love the countryside and believe it should remain a vital national priority, says Belinda Walters, CLA Isle of Wight Director and current Chairman of the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society:
“The Countryside Matters campaign highlights the many benefits delivered by a working countryside and the importance of continued investment in farming, the rural economy and our landscapes. The Isle of Wight Show is an important opportunity for us to press home the countryside matters message and encourage the public to back the campaign.”
The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, is also sponsoring the Village Green at the Show on Sunday 25 June.
During the Show, the CLA will be providing a programme of short topical talks on its stand for rural businesses, including the implications of Brexit, planning issues and coastal access. Open to CLA members and non members, the talks are free of charge to attend.
Belinda Walters adds: “Visitors to the CLA stand can also find out more about the benefits delivered by a working countryside, from supplying food through to maintaining habitats for wildlife, through our new ‘Managing the Landscape’ board game.”
This is the first year the CLA has sponsored the Village Green and the support reflects the organisation’s role at the heart of rural communities, providing independent advice on all aspects of land ownership, standing up for rural businesses and representing their interests at a national and regional level.
Belinda Walters comments: “Rural businesses play a vital role in supporting the local economy, creating jobs and making investments which benefit the whole community. We hope people attending the Show will want to get behind our new campaign to ensure everyone can continue to enjoy the countryside, see its economy thrive and its communities prosper.”
For more information on the campaign, go to



This year the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society (RIWAS) has awarded scholarships and bursaries to four Isle of Wight students studying courses linked to farming and land-based industries.
A record number of high quality Scholarship entries were received from young people studying a range of fulltime courses from animal care to agricultural engineering. The Society with the support from the NFU, CLA, Natural Enterprise and Group Five is delighted to see the Rural Careers Fund expand and be able to support more young people.
Scholarships were awarded to:

  • Jack Hodgson, studying Agriculture and Farm Management at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.
  • Joshua Collins, studying Level 3 Agricultural Engineering at Sparsholt College, Hampshire.
  • Emily Walsh, studying Level 3 Extended Equitation at Hartpury College, Gloucester.
  • A bursary has been awarded to Courtney Mullen, studying Level 2 Animal Care at the Isle of Wight College.

Belinda Walters, Chairman of the RIWAS Rural Careers Fund said “We are pleased to be able to support these students to pursue their ambitions, gaining vital skills which they can bring back to enhance agricultural and rural industries on the Isle of Wight. We are particularly grateful to Group Five for their support to expand the number of scholarships offered.”
In addition to the support from partner organisations the Society’s ability to grant awards under the Rural Careers Fund is derived from the funds generated each year by the Royal Isle of Wight County Show.

The RIWAS Rural Careers Fund offers financial support to people aged under 25 (and exceptionally, older) with a strong connection to the Isle of Wight.  The scheme is intended to add value to the Isle of Wight's farming and land-based industries by offering financial support to help young people gain relevant qualifications or skills.  Scholarships of up to £3,000 each are awarded annually. Bursaries, normally of up to £200, are considered throughout the year.

Photos: Mike Priddle (Group Five), Joshua Collins, Graham Biss (Vice Chairman, RIWAS), Belinda Walters (Chair, Rural Careers Fund), David Groves (Rural Careers Fund), Jack Hodgson.


The IW County Show welcomed local company ARTIVO this year, who hosted a 'painting party' for over 100 of our visitors. They have created a beautiful canvas celebrating all aspects of the County Show, which will be auctioned to benefit the Society's Rural Careers Fund. Thank you ARTIVO for your support!ARTIVO in action at the County Show


Brighstone Primary school were celebrating the double at the years Farmhouse Breakfast event by winning both the boys and girls football tournaments! They also took second place in the girls competition, while Shalfleet came second in the boys. The Centre was buzzing all morning as we celebrated the most important meal of the day, thanks to sponsorship from the NFU. Tasty breakfast baps were on offer in our cafe from Briddlesford Lodge Farm, where they were made with Island produce. Brighstone Stores also did a brisk trade trade selling even more scumptious local foods. There were also tractors from Kings Manor Farm, chickens and Yarmouth Gig Rowing Club held a rowing challenge to raise funds for the Centre. The event also launched the build up to this years’ Royal Isle of Wight County Show on 26th June at County Showground, Northwood.



It’s absolutely vital to the future direction of the Visitor Economy on the Isle of Wight that as many tourism and retail businesses as possible come along to the Destination BID consultation workshops to let their feelings be known ahead of collectively deciding if DBID is right for the Island and what its priorities and scope should be. The business case will be drafted following these workshops and will reflect the priorities and needs of the Island businesses that rely on the tourism economy: from shops & supermarkets to cafes and restaurants, leisure and activity centres, facilities and attractions, holiday parks and other types of visitor accommodation. Please give us two hours of your valuable time to come along to one of the BID Consultation Sessions and make sure your voice is heard and your thoughts are recorded. The current sessions are for business with a rateable value of £7500 or more. Sessions for those with a rateable value below £7500 will be held later in December. Thank You”.
David Thornton

You can download the latest version of the consultation prospectus here:
You can take part in the two minute BID survey here:
You can reserve tickets for a Consultation Workshop (there are 20 to choose from) here:



Members of the Poultry Section at this year’s Royal Isle of Wight County Show have been presented with the Presidents Cup for putting on the best section within the show, closely followed by the 'Village Green' which was a popular addition to this year’s show. As well as an impressive marquee dressed with bunting, flowers, greenery and several opportunities for visitors to 'get involved'; the section boasted a healthy number of exhibits, with the overall entry growing by over 70, with many exhibitors making the trip from the island thanks to support from Wightlink. Section lead, Jed Dwight, said 'I'm thrilled with the fantastic response that we received from visitors to our section, both during, and following the show, however, even more pleasing has been the positive response I've received about the show as a whole, including from mainland visitors, who praised the show for keeping to its country roots. I would like to again thank the show and section committee members for their input, support, and in many cases hard work, as well as our main sponsor K.Coghlan’. Amongst the prizes up for grabs for poultry exhibitors taking part in this year’s show was a painting of poultry, created and donated by former island poultry fancier Paul Hallum, and rosettes that were sent over by a leading poultry fanciers club in Texas. The Presidents Cup, which is soon becoming highly sought after amongst each section within the show, was last year won by the Woodland Area, with the Education Tent, supported by the NFU, claiming the award in 2013.



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Breakfast Event - 31st January 2015

More than 90 boys and girls took part in the 2015 West Wight Primary Schools 5-a-side Football Tournament, enjoyed a great local breakfast and got a taste of farm life.

West Wight boys and girls played football before tucking into a tasty breakfast of Island produce during Breakfast Week. They also had the opportunity to handle piglets and poultry and to sit on a tractor. On Saturday morning (31st January), West Wight Sports Centre at Freshwater once again threw open its doors to host the West Wight Primary Schools 5-a-side competition before serving the participants a free Island Breakfast of a bacon roll, sausage bap, scrambled eggs or muesli. The event was organised by West Wight Sports Centre and the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society and was attended by Lord Lieutenant Martin White, President Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society. The NFU (National Farmers’ Union) sponsored the event. Isle of Wight NFU chair Caroline Knox, of Merston, said: “The NFU was very pleased to support this Breakfast Week event, highlighting the importance of eating breakfast within a healthy lifestyle. The boys and girls clearly enjoyed scrumptious breakfast fare and also had an insight into the role and importance of the agricultural industry.”

This event launched the build up to this year’s Royal Isle of Wight County Show which will take place on 27th June at the Northwood Showground. Graham Biss, Vice Chairman of Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society (RIWAS), said: “The County Show is rapidly re-establishing itself as one of the premier events in the rural calendar and this year we will have a particular focus on allowing people to come along and actively get involved. As the boys and girls found out this morning the show will have something for everyone to enjoy”. Also taking part in the breakfast event was the Isle of Wight Poultry Association which will be holding their Annual Show and Competition at the County Show. Jed Dwight, said: “This was a great way to start the year. The children are always very interested in the chickens and will see another great display at this year’s County Show”. The boys and girls were particularly interested to be able to get up close to a sow and litter of Middle White pigs and to handle some of the baby piglets, provided by David and Sharon Groves. Clare Griffin, Manager of the West Wight Sports Centre, added: “West Wight Sports Centre was delighted to welcome the local farming community and to help support local produce and encourage a healthy, wholesome start to your day”.

After a full morning of games Shalfleet Primary School won the girls competition by beating Brighstone in the final on penalties and Brighstone the boys competition.

Wight Marque - truly local produce from the Isle of Wight

Wight Marque, a new accreditation scheme for the Island’s local food and drink sector, will be launched on Sunday 27th April at 12.15pm at the Cowes Food Show.  At the same time, an Island-wide design competition will be announced to create a new logo for the Wight Marque which will then be used to identify authentic Isle of Wight produce.

The Wight Marque launch on Sunday 27th April follows several months of consultation with Island food and drink businesses to ensure that the criteria being proposed, are fair and that the costs for participation offer good value for money.  In the first year there will be a 50% reduction in the proposed fees, with participation for a food producer starting at just £25.

The scheme will be aimed at all parts of the food chain, from beginning to end, to include places to eat and drink.

The design competition is open to anyone resident on the Isle of Wight from professional designers to students. Full details of the brief, how to enter and the prize on offer can be found online at


Royal Artillery & Volunteer Day

On Wednesday, 9th April we were lucky enough to have the Royal Artillery helping us and other volunteers at the Showground.  They helped us to build a squirrel hide, in conjunction with Wight Squirrel Project, put up some new fencing, clear brambles and lots of painting!  A big thank you to everyone else who turned up to help.


The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is funded by Defra and the EU.
The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.