THE Northumberland County Show began a new era yesterday with the first event at its new home.
The inaugural show at Bywell after years at nearby Tynedale Park in Corbridge wasn’t without snags – long traffic tailbacks and crowded parking laid down a pointer for next year’s requirements.
But the 25,000 who flocked to the riverside village on land owned by Lord Allendale lapped it all up.
Last night, show secretary Gaynor Scandle greeted the venue enthusiastically while admitting there were issues to look at before 2014.
She said: “There are things we need to address, but everyone is happy tonight. The parking was the main thing. We certainly need more parking for next year.
“And the A69 was a problem – there were certainly long queues. But it will be better next year because the road into Bywell restricted by a landslip this year will be fully open. And to improve the parking we will just have to rent more fields.”
Thirty years of tradition at Corbridge’s Tynedale Park ended because this most beloved of county shows simply outgrew its limits. Bywell allowed 50% more space for the scores of stallholders and exhibitors who want to be a part of Northumberland County Show.
And even the weather gods obliged, holding off any rain over the weekend to allow last week’s dampness to dry.
“It has all gone well,” Mrs Scandle added. “We’ve been lucky with the weather and the participants have all been exceptionally happy.
“There were a few teething problems, but the access has been fine and it will be even better next year with the B6309 road repaired and a shuttle bus which we couldn’t use this year because it had no room to turn.
“We have had three ways in and three ways out, and next year there will be four, whereas at Corbridge there was only one.
“We have asked people to give suggestions and people have come forward and put things in the box.
“I knew at 8.36 in the morning when I looked at my watch and there were already hundreds of visitors arriving that it was going to be a good day.
“We had new events such as showjumping, which proved very popular, and with the backdrop of Bywell Hall it was all very beautiful.
“We will now take everything on board in a debriefing, but in all of this we must give huge thanks to the Allendales, who have been incredible and very positive for us.
“We didn’t want to wreck the Allendales’ front garden, but they are saying, ‘Don’t worry – it will mend’. I cannot believe how amazing they have been.”