What to see at the Game Fair

Kate Green picks out her highlights from this weekend's CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace

Kate Green from Country Life magazine shares the top events and stands to look out for at The CLA Game Fair, being held this year at Blenheim Palace this weekend:

1 The big debate: ‘Would the countryside be better off if we left the EU?’ with UKIP leader Nigel Farage, CLA deputy president Ross Murray, Robin Page of the Countryside Restoration Trust and GWCT chairman Ian Coghill (Friday, 10.30am, Game Fair Theatre)

2 Masterclass: ‘Ferrets and Ferreting’ by Ferretmeister James McKay, daily series at the Ferret Roadshow

3 Polo: Bring a picnic and watch a match in the main arena at 6.30pm on Saturday evening

4 Game Chef of the Year
: Top game chef Mike Robinson will judge the competition, sponsored by The Field and run in Masterchef style, in the Cookery Demonstration Theatre

5 Game birds: Daily falconry demonstrations in the main arena, plus a mini-arena featuring a Saker falcon, Steppe eagle and Harris hawk among other rare birds

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6 Dogs of all shapes and sizes: Gundog and lurcher displays plus the unmissable Terrier Pavilion

7 Hot shot: Six-time shooting champion John Bidwell, performs gymnastics with a gun, plus the Play and Clay area and Gunmakers’ Row

8 Auction: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation has a list of tempting sporting lots

9 Art: The collection of amazing sporting and wildlife art is one of the Game Fair’s great pleasures – my favourite is Keith Sykes’ scraperboard animal portraits at the Redspot group of seven artists

10 Shopping: 900-plus quality tradestands with everything from a Holland & Holland to a hatpin, as a great department store didn’t quite say

Visit Country Life on stand FO395, which is near the CLA Members’ Enclosure and Bond Street. We will be offering discounts of up to 40% on subscriptions, plus a free bottle of Glengoyne Whisky or Bollinger Champagne

Kate Green will be chairing the debate ‘Do we need the Green Belt?’ at 3.30pm on Friday in the Game Fair Theatre

Find out more at www.gamefair.co.uk

Debates at the Game Fair 2014

UKIP leader Nigel Farage will no doubt hog the limelight at this weekend’s CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (July 18-20, 0845 612 2052; www.gamefair.co.uk), when he debates whether the countryside would be better off if Britain left the EU.

He and Robin Page of the Countryside Restoration Trust take on GWCT chairman Ian Coghill and CLA deputy president Ross Murray at 11am on Friday. At 9.30am, rural commentator Charlie Brooks will channel debate on whether the countryside is marginalised in politics with Defra Secretary Owen Paterson, his shadow counterpart Huw Irranca-Davies and CLA president Henry Robinson (Favourite painting, page 52).

At 2pm, Alastair Balmain, editor of our sister title Shooting Times, heads a discussion on whether the rural economy needs shooting and fishing with the RSPB’s Martin Harper, Strutt & Parker’s Rhodri Thomas, BASC’s Richard Ali and Howard Davies of the National Association for AONBs.

This is followed at 3.30pm by ‘Do we need the Green Belt?’ chaired by COUNTRY LIFE’s Managing Editor Kate Green with CLA vice-president Tim Breitmeyer, John McLarty of Strutt & Parker and the National Trust’s Peter Nixon plus a property developer. On Saturday, July 19, another series of discussions starts at 10am with the topic of chalkstream decline.

Outside the debating theatre, there are game-cooking demonstrations, polo in front of the palace on Saturday evening, a ferret roadshow, fishing-rod testing, clay-shooting tuition, gundog trials and a sporting auction on the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation stand (H0472), plus some 900 tradestands selling everything from fudge to fishing tackle.

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