Countryside pursuits draw thousands at CLA Game Fair

Ali Taylor, of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home with Chihauhaus Nancy and Betty

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First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

SHOTGUNS, animals and tweed jackets were out in force at the CLA Game Fair over the weekend.

Tens of thousands attended the countryside pursuits event at Blenheim Palace, in Woodstock, from Friday until yesterday.

The event’s interim director, Tony Wall, said: “It has been absolutely fantastic.”

Traffic plans implemented after severe congestion in 2008 also kept queues under control. Mr Wall said it “ran as smoothly as possible and it worked very well”.

Clay pigeon shooting, fishing, archery and celebrity cookery demonstrations were among attractions at the 181-acre showground.

About 1,000 stalls sold wares such as tweed headbands, dog accessories, art, crockery, farming machinery and wealth management services.

Oxford Mail:

  •  Tens of thousands attended the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace over the past three days

Mr Wall said: “The traders have done incredibly well, some have sold fantastic amounts of stock.”

Displays of Bentleys and Lamborghinis, hot tubs, boats and luxury garden furniture brought some glamour.

Demonstrations included rolling Cuban cigars, training sniffer dogs, casting and cookery from TV chefs like UKTV’s Heaven’s Kitchen presenter Mike Robinson.

On Friday, hundreds crammed into the Game Fair Theatre for a debate on whether the countryside would be better with the UK outside the European Union. Going head-to-head were UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, Ross Murray, the deputy president of the CLA, which organises the fair, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust chairman Ian Coghill and Daily Telegraph columnist Robin Page.

Oxford Mail:

  • Nigel Farage

Mr Farage said afterwards: “Over the past 15 years we’ve gone towards the soundbite and people think public debate doesn’t matter, but you couldn’t move in there.

“The whole agricultural and countryside sector hasn’t debated the issue at all.

“There’s a whole slew of EU directives, such as the list of pesticides that will not be allowed to be used over the next few years without proving whether they are dangerous or not.”

Oxford Mail:

  • Clay pigeon shooting enthusiast Alice King looks at shotguns    

Celebrities like former JLS singer JB Gill, ex-England rugby captain Phil Vickery and TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh led walks through the grounds as part of a Prince’s Countryside Fund initiative.

Wood-cutting, equestrian circuits and polo matches were amongst the sporting attractions.

For more photographs, see oxfordmail.co.uk/pictures

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