Members, stakeholders and visitors to the Royal Welsh Show last week heard about the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s plans to unveil a new-look Horticulture Section in 2024.

The Society was also pleased to also welcome the Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS to the launch.

The promotion of horticulture is one of the Society’s key charitable objectives and plans are underway to establish a new Horticultural Village at the 2024 Royal Welsh Show. The village will celebrate all aspects of horticulture in Wales – from community to commercial growing, competitive showing and displays, alongside promoting the health and social benefits of gardening, education and building a resilient supply chain of sustainable Welsh produce.

RWAS Chair of Board, Professor Wynne Jones began by welcoming all those attending and thanked Farming Connect and Lantra for hosting the launch event. Professor Jones highlighted the importance of horticulture in Wales, and how the Society’s role as a charity can help in providing a platform to promote the industry at the Royal Welsh Show, and potentially at our other events.

RWAS Honorary Show Director, Richard Price thanked those who took part in the strategic planning workshop held at Aberglasney Gardens earlier this year.

The workshop brought key stakeholders with an interest in horticulture together with members of the RWAS Horticulture Committee and RWAS Staff to discuss plans for the new horticultural village.

The Society says the ethos of the new horticultural village is to ‘inspire, educate and collaborate.’

The village is set to be a space to inspire by showcasing excellence with competitive exhibits and displays. It will be a place for education and learning by working in partnership with schools and colleges. And it will create an opportunity to collaborate through inclusive social spaces, meeting areas and demonstration stages.

During the launch, RWAS Chief Executive, Aled Rhys Jones outlined the new vision for the Horticultural Village and shared potential design ideas of how the village may look.

The design is based on key ideas around inclusivity and biodiversity, with a stage area for talks, seminars and interactive displays and stall spaces for exhibitors. Central to the village will be areas for competitive showing, particularly the floral art and vegetable produce which the Royal Welsh is renowned for.

We are all becoming increasingly aware of the wider benefits that horticulture, gardening, and the outdoors have for our mental health and wellbeing. The Society is keen to implement areas in the village that will reinforce this message, such as communal seating and a sensory garden for visitors to enjoy a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle of the show.

“We are very excited about these plans and want the space to be inclusive and appeal to all, from families to commercial growers.” said Aled Rhys Jones.

“We are still in the early stages of developing this concept and we see this as a collaborative project where different delivery partners, sponsors and stakeholders can help us deliver on this ambitious vision. We want this new horticultural village to be one of the biggest talking points of the 2024 Royal Welsh Show.”

The Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS, joined the launch to say a few words:

“A vibrant horticulture sector is high on the Welsh Government’s agenda for developing a sustainable agricultural industry as it delivers a range of environmental, social and economic benefits.

“The Royal Welsh Show is crucial in promoting Welsh agriculture and horticulture to the world, boosting trade opportunities and allowing new methods and technologies to be shared. It is important our horticulturalists are an integral part of this, which is why I am very pleased to hear the outline plans for the new Horticultural Village at next year’s Show.”

The RWAS plans to open the new Horticultural Village at the 2024 Royal Welsh Show and invites stakeholders, partners and supporters to get involved and share ideas and feedback in the coming months.