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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is particularly stunning at this time of year and so we’ve picked out 18 stunning pictures that encapsulate the county during the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From cosy pubs galore to winter beach walks, there’s plenty to enjoy in Devon at Christmas. We list 19 reasons you should come visit us this December.

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is a joy to explore with its beautiful beaches, pretty woodland and charming towns and villages. Made even more magical under a blanket of glistening frost, we pick 12 walks to blow away the cobwebs in the county this winter

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A South Devon walk along a wreck-rich coastline with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the latest of our 24-hour tours of Devon’s best locations, we head to Britain’s Ocean City

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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

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