EVERY year, around 95,000 people descend on the New Forest for a celebration of everything to do with the countryside.

The New Forest and Hampshire County Show’s history stretches back to 1920, when the New Forest Agricultural Show Society was founded.

In the aftermath of a devastating world war, the show society’s president, local MP Walter Frank Perkins, aimed to bring the Forest community together.

Its first New Forest and Hampshire County Show was held the following year, as a small, one-day event at Bartley Cross.

Admittance cost two shillings and fourpence and the highlights included competitions, a single tent for exhibitions, and dancing in the evenings.

Equestrian activities soon became a major draw, and a poster for the 1937 show – at Northerwood Park, Lyndhurst – put jumping and gymkhana competitions at the top of the bill.

There would be an exhibition of agriculture, horticulture and apiculture, the ad promised, along with demonstrations of Forest industries, woodmen’s competitions, trade exhibits, the chance to hear the Massed Bands of the South Wessex Infantry Brigade beat a retreat – as well as Bartlett’s Super Fun Fair.

Between the first show and the outbreak of World War II, the event was held at Bartley Cross; Morant Estate, Brockenhurst; Meyrick Estate, Hinton Admiral; Testwood Park, Totton; and at Northerwood Park.

The show was suspended during the war, but resumed at Cuffnells Park, Lyndhurst, before moving in 1955 to New Park, where it is still based today.

As the show expanded, it was spread over three days, with a full programme of equestrian activities, as well as livestock competitions, produce and trade stands and a host of other attractions.

And in years when the weather has not been kind, show-goers have generally put on their wellies and enjoyed the events regardless.

The show raises money for the New Forest Agricultural Show Society, a registered charity, and other good causes. The society’s remit remains “the holding of an annual show to promote and encourage the development of agriculture, forestry, equestrianism and horticulture and encourage the improvement in the breeding of stock”.

The event is rated among the top 10 agricultural shows – and its reputation received a royal seal of approval when the Queen visited with the Duke of Edinburgh during her Diamond Jubilee tour of 2012.

n The last day of this year’s New Forest Show is tomorrow.