New climbing poles for Great Yorkshire Show

30 May 2023

Two 100ft Douglas Fir poles have been craned into place at the Showground ready for the spectacular Great Yorkshire Show Pole Climbing Championships.

The competition sees climbers race to the top of the poles in seconds, with the fastest climber eventually taking the title after all the rounds.

The poles have been supplied by Dawnay Estates at Wykeham near Scarborough, which is sponsoring the event for the next three years. The poles were last replaced nine years ago.

Allister Nixon, CEO of Yorkshire Agricultural Society which organises the Great Yorkshire Show, said:

We are delighted to be holding the pole climbing competition again after a short break. The speed at which the competitors can make it to the top – some of them under ten seconds – is always an amazing spectacle and attracts crowds of visitors to the Forestry area.


The Douglas Fir have come from the Bedale valley on the Wykeham Estate, part of the Dawnay Estates. James Stephenson, head of Property and Sporting, said:

Douglas Firs are ideal because they are big trees and produce straight timber, especially in a valley setting like Bedale. Minimal taper between the top and bottom of the tree makes them good for this use.

They are approximately 80 years old, weigh around six tons each and have been removed from our commercial woodland as part of our selective programme which allows it to regenerate.

Douglas Fir is slower growing and more naturally durable than other conifers so we expect them to be in place for a good while.

During the show, the old poles will be recycled into new benches for the Showground, with visitors being able to watch the process.

Other highlights of the Forestry area this year include the return of the John Deere top-of-the-range tree harvester, a monster machine, along with a simulator so that anyone who fancies having a go at handling the beast can test their skills virtually.

Within the woodland there will be a range of demonstrations running at various times, including:

  • Yorkshire Carving – see a large chunk of tree converted into a woodland sculpture with a chainsaw.
  • Kindlewoods will be setting up their woodland camp to offer fire by various methods.
  • Teamwork Horse Logging will demonstrate the traditional and still-used method of timber movement and extraction.
  • Yorkshire Hurdles and Yorkshire Willow Baskets will be demonstrating crafts using coppiced wood.
  • Woodmizer will show how modern technology used by a mobile sawmill can produce accurately sized building products from raw timber.
  • Low Impact Forestry will explain how smaller machinery has its place in a working woodland.
  • There will also be a live Forestry demonstration at 12.30pm each day.

The Woodland Advice marquee will provide information on how to create, manage and protect new and existing woodlands. Experts from a range of organisations including the Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust, White Rose Forest, Humber Forest and South Yorkshire Woodland Partnership will be on hand to discuss the funding and support available for landowners and land managers in Yorkshire.

The winner of the prestigious John Boddy prize for Forestry will also be revealed, with £400 and the John Boddy rose bowl trophy going to the owner of the best new community woodland in Yorkshire.

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