In our Countryside Arena at the Thame Country Fair, we focus on traditional countryside pursuits as well as a few rather unique demonstrations!
Watch these stunning birds of prey as they swoop and soar above the Countryside Arena. Handled by some of the UK’s top falconers, lead by Ben Long, you will learn the different ways in which hawk, buzzards and falcons fly and you may even have the opportunity to come into the arena and fly one yourself. A more interactive display than in the Andy Singleton with opportunities to get involved.
Again, you are welcome to meet the birds afterwards in the designated Falconry Marquee.
In the slightly smaller Countryside Arena, the Intermediate Horseboarding teams will be competing: horse and rider pulling a boarder around an obstacle course in the fastest possible time. There will be thrills and spills and once you start watching you will definitely want to stay to the last boarder.
We have three rather sleek and gorgeous jaguar cars coming to Thame Country Fair – a Grey 4.2 ltr supercharged Jaguar 420BHP limited to 155mph, a green and black Jaguar 4.2 LTR – 300 BHP – 155 MPH limited and a blue and orange Jaguar 5.0 ltr V8 Supercharged 542 BHP – 186 MPH limited.
Gun dog experts Paul Makepeace and Aubrey Ladyman will be showing how they train their spaniel and retriever dogs from tiny puppies right through to reliable dogs able to participate in a day’s shoot. They will also be showing you how to overcome some of the difficulties which can arise in training and will be open to any questions afterwards if you are wondering how to proceed with your own dog!
Gundogs and Falconry
Don’t miss the incredibly synergy of these gun dogs and birds of prey working together. Although the dog is a natural predator to the bird, with Paul Makepeace handling the dogs, and Ben Long handling the birds they work together as dogs and birds did in Tudor times.
On the Warren with Simon Whitehead
Returning to demonstrate at the Living Heritage game and country shows is Simon Whitehead of Pakefield Ferrets. Rabbit controller, author and sporting journalist, Simon brings his wealth of experience and knowledge to highlight the relationship between man, wild rabbit, the countryside and the table.
Simon, a unique character it must be said, displays and demonstrate in a very unique manner, that has to be seen to be believed. Educational, amusing and entertaining are just a few descriptions to describe how Simon poetically sells the virtues of ferrets and ferreting to his audience.
During his educational, amusing and entertaining action-packed demonstration, the unscripted drama blossoms as he regales the ferrets journey through the passage of time. Often copied but never bettered, Simon backs up the provenance of his show by earning his living not only “rabbiting” but writing, filming and acting as a consultant to media and production companies.
All of these aspects of ferrets and ferreting combine to make a package that makes it an unequalled demonstration amongst the arena acts across the UK. Simon definitely puts the “ferret” back into ferreting.
As ferreting is normally carried out in unsociable surroundings and often in solitude, Simon makes full use of the arena demonstration and static display to explain and illustrate why ferreting is fast becoming a more sought-after pastime in the countryside and towns of the UK.
The ferreter is the epitome of the organic and environmentally friendly hunter/gatherer and as such continues to educate about the merits of rabbit as a first class organic, free range meat for the table. A raconteur of some repute, Simon can display, demonstrate and educate his traditional craft that has not only survived the growth in technology but prospered, illustrating why the Pakefield Ferrets motto of “ensuring the tradition of ferreting IS continued for further generations” is long remembered after the final curtain.
For the first time, Simon will also be in the Country Kitchen to illustrate the merits of rabbits as a sustainable wild food. From harvesting to field dressing, breaking them down to cooking a simple dish, Simon will illustrate why the rabbit is now becoming a much sought-after addition to our diets. Due to the demand for cementing the provenance of his rabbits, Simon is now taking people and groups out to show them the full circle. Harvesting rabbits in an organic manner, breaking them down and cooking them just metres from where they were harvested.
We may be lacking in water in the Countryside Arena, but our angling experts Peter Johnson, Ian Kilgour and Barry Grantham will be welcoming young volunteers into the arena to learn about fly casting in this informative demonstration.
If this grabs your interest, head over to our angling marquee where you can book your own individual tuition, or ask any questions of our angling experts from Trout and Salmon Conservation UK or the Angling Trust.