Organisers of the New Forest Show have launched the countdown to this year’s spectacular by unveiling a raft of improvements to the huge arena.
The 2015 show featured a dazzling display of horsemanship by the Household Cavalry and attracted a record crowd of 105,000.
But at one stage so many motorists were trying to enter the car parks that officials urged would-be spectators to stay at home and go the next day instead.
Now they have announced a series of measures aimed at preventing any repetition of the traffic chaos seen last July. Show bosses say a new parking system will enable more vehicles to use the main car parks. An overflow parking area will be open all the time instead of being kept closed until the huge showground at New Park, Brockenhurst, starts filling up. The attempt to improve traffic flow also includes extra AA signs in the New Park area and an additional 30 stewards. Spectators approaching from the west will be encouraged to come through Burley and thus avoid Lyndhurst, one of Hampshire’s biggest bottlenecks in the summer.
Show secretary Denis Dooley said improvements to the showground itself included three new grandstands and better visibility for spectators.
“The quantity of grandstand seating has increased for non-members, allowing more visitors to watch from a higher level,” said Mr Dooley.
“In order to create more viewing space, confectionary units have been moved away from their previous ringside position. The size of banners around Hoburne East Ring has been reduced to improve overall visibility for spectators.”
Mr Dooley was speaking at a preview event held to showcase some of the attractions at this year’s show, which starts on July 26.
Members of the New Forest-based Milton Academy of Dance were joined by a horse mascot called Rufus as they performed one of their routines. A shire horse owned by Ringwood Brewery was introduced to a pint of beer, and new-born chicks from Longdown Activity Farm also put in an appearance.
This year’s president is Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who will attend the first two days of the show.
Courtesy Southern Daily Echo