DRY conditions, drier than usual because of the long hot summer, made it a hard course for the ploughmen at Black Dog, competing in the annual Witheridge and District Ploughing and Agricultural Group match on Tuesday, September 18.

They were ploughing on Oak Park, a field belonging to the Burrow family at Tree Farm. The weather had made it a difficult job for the judges but it was said that folk had known it even drier and ploughmen who had been competing in South Devon had said that was drier.

Champion ploughman was Peter Stone from Kingsbridge, a national champion but champion at Witheridge for the first time.

Colin Burrow, whose family moved to Tree in 1896 and was president of the Ploughing and Agricultural Group for many years, had died in June aged 94. His funeral held at Black Dog Methodist Church was very well attended.

He was proud of his association and of his farm. In fact he had been doing a 10-hour day harvesting the summer before he died.

In 2016 James Burrow spent a week at Tree recording Colin’s memories and thoughts which he transcribed into a book, published by Amazon who had promised to have copies delivered in time to be sold, not-for-profit, at the ploughing match.

But that did not happen. However, there was one copy people could look at and put their names down to buy - "Burrowing. My Life in Mid Devon: Family, Farming and Faith."

It is a fascinating book, pieces of history, snippets of farming information, ideas, thoughts, a delightful book.

The front cover shows Colin harvesting with his grandfather in the field where the ploughing match was held.

Two of Colin’s three children were at the ploughing match - Christopher and Ruth, now Ruth Shawe. John was the third child, now working in Taunton.

Ruth presented trophies but before that, the chairman, Alan Bickley, called for a short silence in memory of Colin. Ruth now lives at Huntshaw.


Open digger - 1 Donald Tonkin, 2 Bill Tonkin, 3 Ray Hayball.

Open, under 26 on January 1 - Rachel Pincombe.

Open, three or more furrows - 1 Alan Bickley, 2 Arthur Heywood, 3 B Hayball.

Open reversible - 1 Sam Reed, 2 Paul Pincombe, 3 Nathan Pincombe.

Classic pre-1976 - 1 Desmond Jenkin, 2 Francis Grosse, 3 Richard Hartnel, 4 P Ovens.

Vintage tractor and trailer plough - 1 Peter Stone, 2 Martyn Smale, 3 R Heaman.

Vintage mounted - 1 Colin Herd, 2 A Westcott, 3 Raymond Govier, 4 R Heal.

Ferguson T20 - 1 G Bufton, 2 Eddie Vigers, 3 Tim Webb.


Cup for the champion ploughman that day went to Peter Stone from Kingsbridge.

For the best work by local competitor with three or more furrow plough, Alan Bickley.

Best work by local competitor with reversible plough, Paul Pincombe.

Best work by competitor under the age of 25 years, Rachel Pincombe, she won the same trophy last year too.

Best work in open class, Alan Bickley.

For the best work with a vintage tractor and trailer plough, Peter Stone.

Best work by a local competitor, Alan Bickley, who won this trophy last year as well.

For the best work in the classic pre-1976 class, Desmond Jenkin.

Rose bowl for the best ploughing using a Ford tractor, Bill Tonkin.

For the best in the open reversible, G Bufton.

For the best in the vintage mounted class, Colin Herd.


In the produce classes Isabel Govier won the cup for gaining most points in the children’s classes and eight-years-old Reuben Gillbard won the runners-up cup.

Roderick Hayes won the cup for gaining most points in the farm produce classes as well as the cup for the best exhibit in those classes.

Daniel Gibson won the trophy for gaining most points in the hay and silage classes.

Joyce Rowcliffe won the cup for gaining most points in the domestic section and the cup for gaining most points in that section with the fruit and vegetable classes as well.

Louise Leach went home with the Witheridge and District YFC shield for the most points by a member in the domestic, flower and vegetable classes.

Timothy Blake took home the trophy for gaining most points in the vegetable and flower classes.