The return of The Game Fair to Ragley Hall at the end of this month promises a festival of fieldsports, country pursuits and revelry that’s not to be missed
This month, The Game Fair returns to Ragley Hall in Alcester, Warwickshire. Around 120,000 visitors are expected to attend from Friday, 29 July to Sunday, 31 July, and the event once again promises to be a fantastic celebration of fieldsports and country life. The Hall, home to the ninth Marquess of Hertford, sits in 450 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland near Stratford-upon-Avon. The Game Fair’s packed itinerary includes exciting displays, thrilling competitions, educational demonstrations and plenty of chances for visitors to have a go for themselves. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from clay shooting and rifle enthusiasts to fishing fanatics, foodies and more.
The Field has been at the heart of every Game Fair since 1958 and this year will be no different, with our stand located at the centre of the show, adjacent to The Game Fair Enclosure. We are eagerly looking forward to meeting our readers, new subscribers and sporting friends.
This year’s splendid subscription offer is not to be missed. Subscribe to The Field at our Game Fair stand and receive up to 39% off and the choice of a bottle of champagne or a pair of excellent shooting socks. Subscribers will also receive a bronze VIP member’s badge (worth £99), allowing access to the VIP Game Fair Enclosure, where you can enjoy free tea or coffee all day, the best loos on site and somewhere decent to sit.
THE GAME FAIR 2022
A meander down Gunmakers’ Row always throws up something interesting for any sporting enthusiast. Leading gunmakers will be displaying their new products alongside old favourites, while shooting coats, gumboots, gundog accessories and everything else you can think of will adorn the aisles on either side.
The Game Fair boasts the most comprehensive outdoor exhibition for game and clay shooting held anywhere in the UK. Run again this year by EJ Churchill, the event gives visitors the chance to take part in competitions, have a go at shooting and watch some fantastic demonstrations.
There will be one-to-one shooting lessons lasting 30 minutes, for those who need to tighten up their swing, as well as a shorter ‘shooting experience’ for newcomers, which lasts 10 minutes. There will also be the opportunity for visitors to test leadfree, sustainable shotgun cartridges from brands such as Eley, BioAmmo and Jocker. The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association will also be offering visitors have-a-go clay shooting at 10 targets, with an instructor.
The lake on Ragley Estate provides the opportunity for beginners to catch their first fish, with the help of coaches from the Canal & River Trust, or learn how to cast a fly-rod with the team from the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors. Seasoned anglers can try their hand at various casting competitions – both fly and lure – with the chance of winning a prize or two as an added incentive.
The event’s exhibitors and displays encompass all types of fishing – fly, coarse, lure and sea – while the ever popular Casting Pool is the perfect place to watch expert demonstrations from the likes of Hywel and Tanya Morgan, Scott Mackenzie and the Untamed Anglers.
The Landing Stage, The Game Fair’s very own fishing theatre, returns for 2022 with a full schedule of films, talks and experiences. These will include an antique-tackle roadshow, where visitors can have their old and cherished fishing gear valued by resident experts. Some of the biggest names in fishing will be on hand to share stories and tips, with plenty making guest appearances in the book signing area. There will be a screening of Riverwoods, a feature-length documentary that shines a light on the perilous state of Scotland’s salmon and tells the compelling story of the inextricable link between the fish and the forests surrounding the rivers they live in. Those who are keen to take a closer look at some of the native fish found in Britain’s rivers and lakes can visit a tank curated by the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust, with a selection of coarse fish species.
There will also be myriad angling exhibitors and traders on site offering visitors the chance to select their next fishing holiday destination, choose a new rod or reel, or browse tackle and bait.
Sponsored by the Abu Dhabi International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition, the Village is a must-see attraction for birds-of-prey enthusiasts. The Falconry Village features a wide variety of raptors and there will be specialist traders, artists and UK falconry clubs on hand to give advice and share their passion for these magnificent birds. At the heart of the area is the flying ring, where CJ’s Birds of Prey will hold exciting demonstrations showing the capabilities of different birds of prey.
One of the biggest attractions for those attending The Game Fair is the sheer variety of kit, clobber, art, antiques, shotguns, gumboots and garden ornaments on show. With hundreds of brands, visitors are spoilt for choice. Emma Cawston [our July issue Sporting Artist] will be exhibiting at the show; a good opportunity to see her work in person.
The Game Fair is one of the best places to see the latest products and take advantage of superb show offers. And let’s not forget that no shopping trip at The Game Fair is complete without a complimentary copy of The Field, which you can pick up, along with a subscription and a free gift, at The Field’s stand.
FOR THE FIRST TIME
This year, The Game Fair welcomes Gritchie Brewing Co, an artisan brewery founded by film director, producer and screenwriter Guy Ritchie. The menu includes a lager, two English IPAs and a New World IPA, all brewed using homegrown barley and water drawn from an aquifer on the Wiltshire/ Dorset border. A pit stop at the Gritchie Bar will be the ideal way to quench your thirst as you explore the hundreds of exhibitors and attractions. Another attraction this year is the chance to make your own ice cream, as Salcombe Dairy brings a taste of the West Country to the show. Its interactive Ice Cream Factory will keep the smalls amused, churning out the brand’s award-winning, traditionally made Devonshire ice cream in an array of flavours.
Watching a perfectly trained gundog at work is a unique experience, showing the bond between handler and canine. The Game Fair has been holding prestigious gundog test events for more than 60 years, and this year sees the Euro Challenge and the Home International Competition return once again. Alongside the displays and competitions, there will be exhibitors, breeders and trainers on hand to share their words of wisdom on anything from feeding a new puppy to ironing out training issues. Plus, you might want to buy your canine companion a treat or perhaps a new bed.
Charlie Jacoby, from Fieldsports Channel, will be hosting the Carter Jonas Game Fair Theatre as a three-day chat show, with new guests every 20 minutes. Guests will include Adam Henson from the BBC’s Countryfile programme; JB Gill, farmer and former member of the band JLS; TV’s Yorkshire Shepherdess, Amanda Owen; The Field’s Editor, Alexandra Henton, and more.
Jacoby explains: “I’m here with Carter Jonas to sprinkle a little stardust into the otherwise drab lives of country folk. Sharpen your pitchforks and come and meet my guests and me over the weekend.”
If you are partial to camping and short walks back to bed, then why not use The Game Fair as your base camp and pitch a tent? The show welcomes caravans, motor homes, horse boxes and tents to pitch up on the 10m x 10m allotments just a short distance from the main show, with catering concessions and a bar – ideal after a busy day at the event. If you prefer something a little more luxurious, then the ZooBells glampsite is the perfect place to spend the weekend, with all facilities covered, plus catering and a shop.
Lord Hertford, the ninth Marquess of Hertford, is overjoyed by the return of the show to Ragley Park. “I’m delighted to welcome The Game Fair back to Ragley in 2022. It is always a joyful occasion, and a chance to catch up with friends,” he said. Asked whether there were any new additions to the site this year, he responded: “We at Ragley have invested in a whole new road system within the Park, thus enabling greater access to more points on the public highway.” In terms of attractions at the show itself, Lord Hertford is particularly keen on The Game Fair Theatre. “I am looking forward to hearing about the key topics affecting our industry, such as the environment, the cost-of-living crisis and the solutions to the energy crisis.”
THE FIELD GAME FAIR SUBSCRIPTION AND TICKET OFFERS
The Field looks forward to seeing you at our stand right at the heart of the show. Meet the team, pick up a complimentary copy of the August issue and take advantage of our extraordinary show subscription offer. Subscribe from £21 and receive a 39% discount, a bottle of champagne or pair of House of Cheviot shooting socks and a Bronze VIP member’s badge (worth £99), allowing access to the VIP Game Fair Enclosure.
Readers can also take advantage of an exclusive ticket offer: £30 per ticket, including premium forward parking. Simply use the code FIELD22 when you check out at thegamefair.org