AN agricultural show which has been a showcase for the best of the region's farming and rural skills for more than two centuries takes place this weekend.

Wolsingham Show, is the oldest show in England and organisers have pulled together a varied programme for the 227th year.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to farming, with the best cattle, horses, sheep and goats on display.

Rabbits, cavies and feathered classes have their own marquee with impressive horticultural, industrial and crafts also on display.

Dogs and horses feature tomorrow and on Sunday has become established as a traditional country fair day.

The main attraction in the ring on both days is the spectacular stunt group, the Purple Helmets, from the Isle of Man.

Coloured horse classes open tomorrow's programme at 9.45am, followed by the Weardale Motor Club trial at noon.

Music is from the Bearpark and Esh Band and there are Punch and Judy shows, children's rides and trade stalls.

On Sunday, BSJA showjumping starts in the main ring at 9am and dog agility classes get under way at 10.30am.

A sheep show is at 2.15pm, and the Braes of Derwent Hounds and Weardale Beagles will parade at 2.30pm with the Purple Helmets appearing an hour later.

Show secretary Gordon Dobson said: "We are determined that we stay as a predominantly agricultural show, particularly in view of our long tradition.

"We have made some improvements to the showground this year to give visitors more space to look around.

"Now we own the ground, we are continually looking for ways to make it better."

Monday is race day with greyhound racing, sheep dog trials and harness racing.

Admission to the showfield is £6 for adults, £3 for children and £4 for pensioners. Parking costs £1.