Weald of Kent Ploughing Match

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This photo could have been taken in any decade since the second world war. It was taken yesterday in Marden. In my ‘back garden’.

The beauty of the lower Weald – the farming land broadly defined by the floodplain of the Beult – is that it’s like time has stood still. If you blot out the cars and the planes, most views round here haven’t changed much in a century.

The photo is taken at the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match, which is a bit of an institution in the Wealden farming community. There’s a trade show and a farmers’ market, displays of hunting hounds and hawking centres, and of course the obligatory terrier racing. But at heart it’s still a ploughing match (and, it seems to me, a way to get your fields ploughed for free if you volunteer to host the competition!)

We had a May’s Kitchen / Turners Cider stall in the market. Over the course of the day we caught up with pretty much everyone we know locally. We sold out of cider. May’s damson gin was a hit. The kids saw enough tractors in a day to give them tractor-dreams for a year.

It looks like next year’s match is back in Marden and Kent’s hosting the nationals too. We hope to be there for both.

Phil Turner

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