Signs of happy times at Wolds village’s yearly event

BUS STOPS, surely once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all? Well that’s not the case with Bishop Wilton’s very own agricultural show bus stop featuring its chess piece bishop logo in the middle of this lovely village nestled at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Ed Hutchinson, the secretary of Bishop Wilton Show, at the shuttle stop. Pic: Steve Riding

The bus stop in the middle of the village is not for the regular twice-daily Pocklington to York service of the 747 but for the Bishop Wilton Show shuttle bus that can take up to 16 people.

As a village with a population that was only 554 at the 2011 Census this might be thought of as a little odd but it’s because the show, which has had a nomadic existence, is now located at Mike Stringer’s High Callis Farm.

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The show moved to Mike’s arable and sheep farm last year and sees the return of livestock for the first time in 17 years with sheep classes.

One man who has seen every Bishop Wilton Show for at least the past 40 years is show secretary Ed Hutchinson whose parents farmed in the village.

While his brother Andrew and wife Jayne now farm outside the village at Wilton Lodge Farm he took a different route and after having studied agriculture at Rycotewood College in Oxfordshire he has worked for agricultural machinery specialists Vaderstad as a technical support ever since, covering an area from King’s Lynn to Darlington.

“The area I look after means that I’m always back in the village by the evening and this is still a really great place to be, in fact I’d say that Bishop Wilton today is getting better and better as a community and it is a joy to be able to work and live here.

“While my parents came out of farming I decided that I wanted to stay in the industry. The company I work for is Swedish and when I’ve been over to Scandinavia and other parts of Europe I’ve seen that many farmers are part-time, combining another form of work with farming. That has shown me that you don’t have to be a full-time farmer to get by in farming. I still have three-and-a-half acres that I rent out.

“Bishop Wilton Show has been a part of my growing up, or to use its full title, Bishop Wilton Show and Craft Fair. It’s a highlight in our calendar and we have a very active and vibrant committee.

“At one time the show was in the village behind what was the old blacksmith’s shop, then it moved to half a mile west of the village and then a mile to the south. Our latest move was last year going to the east.

“You get to it through Worsendale. It’s 1.8 miles out of the village and is about a three-minute drive. That’s why we’ve laid on the shuttle bus.

“We put this sign up last year and the villagers like it so much it has now become such a favourite and it is staying up.”

Bishop Wilton Show is one of the smallest in the Yorkshire Federation of Show Societies and having not hosted classes for sheep and cattle for many years there may be some who would question their agricultural stance, but they host plenty of other rural activities including sheep shearing, ponies and gun dogs.

Ed believes that its size is irrelevant and that the title of being one of the smaller shows is something that they are happy with.

He is however very pleased that the show is bringing back sheep classes at this summer’s event.

“We attract around 2,000 every year and I think our numbers can work to our advantage even if we would like to see more. It means that we’re not in that position where we have to adapt to cater for the masses as some others have done. “We have a unique half marathon race that has over 400 runners and is one of the most arduous and yet also most beautiful runs in Yorkshire. It starts and finishes at the show but takes in Millington and Pocklington with a great section through Millington Pastures, one of the most scenic and unspoilt parts of Yorkshire.

“It’s a really tough race when you check out the topography. We also have Mark Atkinson’s stunt horses that have appeared in the TV series Poldark.

“Not having sheep or cattle on show has meant that as an agricultural show we’ve not been as big a draw but we’re delighted to be running classes for butchers lambs, young handlers and pure native breeds again.

“Mick Walker from the village and Clive Rowland from Bugthorpe are looking after the sheep entries. Who knows, maybe we will then restart the cattle classes another year?”

Bishop Wilton Show did not originally start out as an agricultural show but over the years it was developed into a show that saw some of the county’s leading stockmen competing right up until the 1990s.

“The show started in 1897 when it was established as a vegetable and flower show in the schoolhouse.

“The houses in the village built around that time and before had large gardens where many would keep a cow or a pig and grow their own vegetables and flowers.

“The show grew considerably post-war and at one time when some of the famous names in cattle and sheep showing came here we even had a grandstand holding 50-100 people.”

This year’s Bishop Wilton Show & Craft Fair takes place at High Callis Farm on Saturday, July 18.