Barbury Castle Estate sheep win more prizes at the Royal Berkshire Show
Last weekend, Barbury Castle Estate supervisor Simon Wells and some of his Charollais-Beltex-cross sheep, joined about 60,000 people and about 1,500 other sheep at the Royal Berkshire County Show organised by the Newbury and District Agricultural Society.
Unlike many of those people and those sheep, Simon Wells and his sheep came away from the Newbury showground with two silver trophies and three very large rosettes.
At the moment Simon has 160 breeding ewes, 50 ewe lambs and 30 ram lambs on the Estate - and one very fine ram who, on the day I visited, had spent the morning 'working'. Any day now another 700 ewe lambs will arrive to get their first taste of the Barbury downland's excellent grass.
The Barbury Castle Estate LLP is now owned by Chris Woodhouse and he is continuing to develop its potential. In addition to the sheep and the renowned international horse trials and the point-to-point races, the Estate is home to Alan King Racing.
King now has 160 horses in training under both horseracing codes - flat and National Hunt. And he has a new and extensive schooling ground tgo prepare his jump horses for the start of the new season.
Apart from the arable farming, the Estate's sheep are a mainstay product. They are sold to local Marlborough butchers Andrews Quality Meats and also at Cirencester market. Now there are plans to sell direct to the public - with boxes of freezer ready meat. This new enterprise will start in the summer - from June onwards.
Simon and the Barbury sheep have been competing at the prestigious Berkshire show for six years - and he has brought home the championship in five of them.
This year's bundle of prizes for the Estate's sheep was as follows:
- second and third with a pair of breeding ewes
- second with a pair of pair of ewe lambs
- first with a pair of shearlings (they're sheep that have been shorn once)
- won the Arthur Young Perpetual Challenge Trophy for the champion pen of butcher's lambs
- won with Barbury's champion ram in the 'Single commercial ram' class.