An array of vintage tractors and ploughs will be on display at the Bowes Show next Saturday, when classic farm machinery enthusiast Paul Coppen will be demonstrating how the tools of the trade have developed throughout the ages.
The oldest ploughs to be exhibited at the event, held at picturesque parkland in Gilmonby, Barnard Castle, are mainly of wooden construction, dating from the 1800s. They include the celebrated Oliver 40, which played an important role in opening up the plains of North America for corn growing.
The event will also feature examples of the metal, single-furrow horse-drawn ploughs that largely replaced these earlier models, including one from the Royal Newcastle range, which were first exhibited at the Royal Show in Newcastle in 1864.
According to Mr Coppen, it was estimated a man could plough an acre in a day with these structures, despite the task involving an 11-mile walk in all weathers, man-handling the plough and controlling two horses at the same time.
Eventually, of course, tractors made horse ploughing redundant, so the display will also feature the likes of the Ransome’s No. 3, an early two-furrow tractor plough introduced in 1927.
Finally, one of today’s multi-furrow tractor mounted ploughs will also be on show, highlighting the staggering advances in plough design and output during the last 150 years.
Andrew Bracewell, chairman of the Bowes Agricultural Society, which organises the event, said: “We are very much looking forward to the 127th Annual Show. This acclaimed and celebrated show, at one time known as the ‘Swaledale Royal’ - a distinction awarded for the quality of Swaledale sheep exhibited in those days - still remains one of the most popular traditional Dales shows in the area.
“Prospects for this year’s show look good. All the traditional classes for cattle, sheep, horses, dogs and horticultural will take place.
“There are also extensive catering arrangements, trade stands and marquees, as well as a new demonstration ring providing facilities for Carole and Philip Mellin’s sheepdog show, miniature horses, the Middleton Brass Band, Punch and Judy and, finally, at 3.30pm, a Grand Parade and presentation of the trophies.”
For more details, see www.bowesshow.org.uk