Hampshire Fare producers fed and watered the crowds with local flavours at Saturday's hugley popular Countryside Day. Sparsholt College's bustling campus basked in some beautiful May sunshine during the College’s showcase event.
The Taste of Hampshire area included a cookery demonstration area with top local chefs showing their skills to the crowds. The line up included Andy Mackenzie from Lainston House, Luke Matthews from Chewton Glen, Damian Brown from The Chesil Rectory, Luke Holder from Lime Wood and Dan Gover from THE PIG.
The college was a hive of activity with activities for all ages. Sparsholt’s herd of Holstein cows greeted everyone on arrival as guests weaved their way from the College farm, via sheep shearing, through to the Equine Centre where they enjoyed showjumping and horsemanship displays. Under the expert eye of the College Equine students, budding equestrians experienced pony rides as they lapped one of the Centre’s three outdoor arenas.
Tim Jackson, Sparsholt College Principal said: “What a superb day we had where Sparsholt shone and our expert students and staff brought their skills to life for the many thousands of visitors. We had families with toddlers through to grandparents enjoying everything to do with countryside careers, living and leisure. It’s great to open up the entire campus for people to experience our first class facilities and see why we are renowned as one of the leading land-based colleges in the UK”.
There were a number of ‘firsts’ for this year with Agriculture students competing in the cattle show, confidently leading their calves and cattle around the arena all vying for rosettes and top honours from the official judges. Over in the Horticulture department the RHS Chelsea team gave visitors a sneaky peek of their design for this year’s flower show, which opens on 22 May 2017 and the new Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Carl Borg-Neal chose Countryside Day for his first official day of duties.
With have-a-go activities the hallmark of Countryside Day there was much to keep everyone busy from tree and wall climbing, clay pigeon shooting, getting under the bonnet of a car or competing to get to the top of the leader board in the Sports department obstacle course. And for those who prefer to sit back and watch there were expert demonstrations and displays from fly-fishing, chainsaw carving, animal encounters and the instant garden challenge.
Hampshire Fare will be at this weekend's Watercress Festival in Alresford where free copies of the Hampshire Food Festival programme will be available.