History

Cotswold Show – A History

Two days, 100 acres, hundreds of attractions and tens of thousands of visitors – the Cotswold Show is now one of the most popular on the regional Country Show calendar.

Back in 1985, Lord Bathurst had a dream of staging an event primarily for people from the countryside, or with an interest in farming. In 1989 that dream was realised, and after 8,000 people passed through the gates of that first show, the concept of Where Town Meets Country was born.

Today, Lord Bathurst is still keen to foster a sense of love and respect for, and understanding of, the countryside and country issues among his neighbours in towns and cities and to give everyone – whether from town or countryside – a great day out.

The date for that first show was set for middle of September, as it fitted well into the farming calendar – after the harvest but before the hunting season had got underway.

The gates opened on a sunny September morning to a show that included a falconry display, a vintage tractor exhibition and a fly fishing demonstration that required the construction of a 150ft long fly casting lake made from hay bales and sheets of plastic.

In 2000 the date of the show was moved from September – which could suffer inclement weather – to July. The new date proved a hit with visitors who came in ever-bigger numbers.

Then, disaster struck. In 2001 Foot and Mouth gripped Britain. Livestock transportation was banned and the countryside was effectively closed to visitors.

Lord Bathurst, who farms on the Bathurst Estate, admits the decision to cancel the Show was difficult, but the right one.

And in 2002 the Show bounced back, bigger and better than ever before. Show visitor numbers have continued to grow and in recent years the appeal of the Show has widened by the inclusion of attractions such as Monster Trucks and Motorcycle stunt teams, even Shetland pony racing and parachutists!

For the organisers of the Show and the thousands of people who swarm through the gates every year, though, the ethos remains the same: “Where Town Meets Country.”