THE 40TH North Yorkshire County Show took place this weekend, with large numbers of visitors flocking to what is one of the first major agricultural shows of the season.

Thousands headed to the rural event held at the Camp Hill Estate near Bedale on Sunday, to see classes held for cattle, sheep, rabbits, ferrets and poultry, alongside classes for creative or green-fingered exhibitors in horticulture, arts, crafts, photography and homemade and homegrown produce.

In the main ring there were also displays of carriage driving, quadbike stunts by The Kangaroo Kid and an introduction to Hurworth Hounds, when children entered the ring to meet the dogs. Parades of winning cattle, vintage tractors and classic cars also took place in the ring.

This year numbers were up in the sheep classes, with approximately 700 animals taking part.

The winner of the interbreed champion in the sheep section was Johnny Staples, 35, who runs a sheep and cattle farm near Esh village in County Durham, with his homebred Blue de Maine sheep. The breed originates from the Loire Valley in France.

“We do about six or seven shows a year, but we’ve never, ever won an interbreed; it’s unbelievable. Quite surreal,” he said.

“We’ve won reserve champion twice but this caps them all."

Another trophy winner, was Giles Horner and Kieran Horner, from Danby near Whitby, who won champion Teeswater.

"This is our first show of the season, so it's nice to get this," said Kieran.

The beef interbreed champion was won by a British Blue owned by Dylan Townend, who farms at Broughton, near Malton. The family had just won a champion interbreed trophy for her at Nottinghamshire Show held recently.

Mr Townend said: “She won breed champion everywhere she went last year – she had a good year last year – so she’s on a roll again here.”

Charlotte Hitchen, 16, won the young handler class in the agricultural horses section, which qualifies her for next year’s Royal Highland Show. Her sister, Sophie, won second place.

The family keep heavy horses at their stables at Grantley near Ripon and one of their Clydesdale horses, Newmill Puzzle, won champion agricultural horse.

The show also has one of the largest poultry sections in Northern England. One of the exhibitors, Adele Beard, from Wakefield, said the egg classes included eggs from hens, ducks, geese, bantams, waterfowl, turkeys and even guinea fowl.

Helping celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary were joint presidents Chris and Vernon Phillips, who have been involved with the show on and off for many decades.

Vernon Phillips first began helping with the show in 1955, when, as a 15-year-old, his grandfather was on the organising committee of the then Northallerton Agricultural Show, and roped him into helping.

He said the show has “grown tremendously” since then, especially in the quantity and quality of exhibits, livestock and trade stands.

His wife, Chris Phillips began helping with the junior section of the show more than 50 years ago.

The couple said they were very pleased with the turnout, although it was too early to say how many people had passed through the ticket gates.

She said the show had settled well into its new venue. The show moved to the Camp Hill Estate near Bedale last year, from Otterington Hall near Northallerton, after the hall was sold to a new owner.

“It’s a wonderful venue,” said Chris Phillips.

“Robert and Jo Ropner are so welcoming and so friendly. We really appreciate the site.”