CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Devon County Show time again

PUBLISHED: 16:35 22 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:35 22 April 2015

Devon County Show new President David Parish on his dairy farm

Devon County Show new President David Parish on his dairy farm

© Richard Austin

It will soon be Devon County Show time again, which means a new President, a new chance for leading farm businesses to win awards…and a new opportunity to pick up a fabulous show ticket offer with Devon Life

Devon County Show new President David Parish on his dairy farmDevon County Show new President David Parish on his dairy farm

If the new President of the Devon County Agricultural Association, David Parish, was a stick of rock, you would find the words ‘Devon County Show’ running through him from top to bottom.

In many ways, David is a typical Devon farmer. He has just turned 71, has been married to Rita - herself a farmer’s daughter - for almost 42 years, and is part of a family business, milking cows, rearing free-range chickens and growing corn, based at Mounstephen Farm, near Uffculme. But what marks him out as very special indeed is his 31 years of service to the Devon County Show, for the last 16 of them as a determinedly hands-on and highly popular Honorary Show Director.

Quietly spoken, mild-mannered but with a hint in his eyes of the inner steel that you need to be a key player in an event as huge and multi-faceted as the Devon County Show, David says that he was “surprised, but very proud” when he was asked to take on the Presidency for 2015.

“When I look at the list of Past Presidents, and all the distinguished names there are on that board, it makes me very humble, and very honoured to find myself in that company.”

The Parish family farm is entirely a family business, with no hired labourThe Parish family farm is entirely a family business, with no hired labour

“To me, the Devon County is up there with the very best three-day shows in the country. It is still fundamentally a farming show, with some of the best livestock you will see anywhere, but it now acts as a shop window for the whole of rural Devon, with a Food and Drink marquee which is second to none.”

It was David’s father Clifford who was the first Parish to farm Mounstephen Farm, when he took on the tenancy in 1939. It was part of a small private estate owned by a Miss Tanner. She was something of an eccentric, drinking only water, taking a cold bath every morning and not owning a car, and when she died, she left the entire estate to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, which provides help to farming families who may have fallen on hard times.

“It does take some of the sting out of paying the rent to know that the money will be going towards such a good cause”, says David.

In all, the Parish family farm around 500 acres, including Weir Mill Farm, on the outskirts of Willand, overlooking the beautiful Culm Valley, which David and Rita bought when they married, and to which they welcome a steady stream of guests for farmhouse bed and breakfast, as well as blocks of mostly arable land at Wellington and near Bridgwater.

It is entirely a family business, with no hired labour. David’s younger brother, Christopher, looks after the calves and young stock, his son Stephen manages the 150,000/year free range broiler unit, while David’s son, Ian, is responsible for the 170 commercial Friesian dairy cows, which milk themselves through three robotic milkers. And David himself? “I help with the cows and look after the books - when my show commitments allow me, that is”, he laughs. Rather like the Devon County Show, this is a farm which combines the best of the old family farming values, with the most up to date of the sustainably intensive technology.

David is looking forward to this year’s Devon County Show with an even keener sense of anticipation than usual, and not just because he’ll be combining his duties as Honorary Show Director with those of DCAA President.

“2015 is bounce-back year!” he enthuses. “It’s our 120th Devon County Show and everyone’s absolutely determined to make it one of the best ever.” n

For more information about the Devon County Show please visit


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tue, 11:06

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Dust off your walking shoes and head to South Devon – here are 6 reasons why the area is so good for a stroll writes Victoria Rogers

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There is something quite life-enriching about being by the water and in Devon there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, writes Fran McElhone. Including surfing, wild swimming, water skiing and more, here are 10 great ways to enjoy Devon’s water

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and plenty of the county’s most distinctive sections of coastline, it’s no wonder that the South Hams district is home to some of Devon’s prettiest places. We pick out 10 of the best towns and villages the area has to offer

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Devon is as beautiful underwater as it is above. Chrissy Harris highlights the best places to discover our county’s hidden depths… Here are 6 great places for crabbing, rockpooling and diving

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search