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Suffolk hosts National Sheepdog Trials for first time – and it’s a huge success

PUBLISHED: 15:25 30 July 2017 | UPDATED: 21:03 30 July 2017

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.
Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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Thousands descended on Haughley Park in Suffolk for the National Sheepdog Trials this weekend – the first time the event has ever been held in the county.

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.
Picture: PHIL MORLEY The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

While the top 150 sheepdogs and handlers in England went head-to-head in the trials, visitors to the park were treated to a host of stalls and exhibits showing off the very best in food and crafts that Suffolk has to offer.

More than 70 exhibitors set up shop as part of Suffolk on Show, which ran alongside the trials.

Bob Wilden, Chairman of the organising committee, said the three-day event looked likely to reach its 5,000 visitor target.

“We have had some lovely bright sunshine, it has been lovely and warm,” he said.

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.
Picture: PHIL MORLEY The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

“Everywhere you look there are people enjoying themselves.

“The marquees have had an endless flow of people wondering around.

“We have had some incredible feedback, with members of the public and local councillors telling us they are delighted at the event, saying we must have this continue.

“They are really impressed with what we have achieved here and would like to see more events like this in the future.

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.
Picture: PHIL MORLEY The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

“It has been a terrific success.”

The dog trials are held each summer by the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS).

Tom Huddleston, chairman of the ISDS said: “For me the stars of the show are the dogs and their handlers who have come from all over the country.

“These dogs are the unsung heroes of the fields and hills of our land. And for three days they become the superstars of the sheep dog world”

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.
Picture: PHIL MORLEY The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Mr Wilden said Haughley Park was the perfect place for the sheepdog trials and hoped the Suffolk on Show event would encourage organisers to bring it down south more often.

“It is so central in Suffolk and its one gem of a place,” he said.

“If we were doing nothing else but sitting in the sun with a shandy enjoying the environment you would be very happy.

“The heartland of sheep dog trials is in the north of England.

The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park.
Picture: PHIL MORLEY The English National Sheepdog Trials and Suffolk on Show at Haughley Park. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

“A lot of competitors are from the Midlands and further north.

“That is why it has been so long for Suffolk to host the event.

“What we are hoping, and it was part of the aim of the Suffolk on Show event, is to prove we have the ability to put on an event like this and encourage the trials to come down south more often.”

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