SPECTACULAR attractions welcomed hundreds of visitors to this year's new-look Fordingbridge Show.

Held over two days for the first time, the show welcomed scores of spectators through the gates of Godshill showground - with advanced tickets a complete sell-out, and visitors were treated to a jam-packed programme of events.

In the main arena, a Wild West spectacular, tractor displays, the St Giles Galloping Fire Engine, horse events, terrier-racing and a sheep and cattle parade all helped entice onlookers.

Dotted about the showground was a mixture of stalls, heavy horses, the open dog show, a craft show and the flowers and garden marquee - exhibiting a mass of artistic local talent.

Show chairman Roger Pell-Stevens said: "The weather was ideal and the major thing this year was that we changed the layout, and it seemed to have worked very well.

"We're a really local show, trying to get as many people involved as possible and we've been delighted with the Forest Journal's support."

This year's event came complete with a farmer's market, a Saturday evening barn dance, a horticultural show, local craftsmen demonstrating their wares, water buffalo, llamas and alpacas, a funfair and much more.

The livestock show also returned for the first time since its two-year absence following the foot-and-mouth scare.

The event, backed by Forest Journal, attracted hordes of dog-lovers and more than 1,000 owners, coming along especially for the Christchurch and New Forest Canine Society-run dog show.

Chairman Gary Peskett said: "We've had just short of 1,500 entries over the two days and the quality of the dogs has been as good as always.

"It's nice to think that we have been an integral part of the Fordingbridge Show and we would be very happy to come back next year, if they'll have us."

A wander around the village green revealed traditional craftsmen from across the Forest, demonstrating some age-old practices.

Master thatcher Chris Gaussen, of Sandleheath, was demonstrating his workmanship, thatching a wooden wendy house to be auctioned off at the Tudor Rose pub, in Fordingbridge, in August. The proceeds will go towards the Ace of Hearts appeal at Salisbury District Hospital.

"We get a lot of interest from the show and it lets people have a look at how thatching is done, and lets them know that I am around" said Chris.

Fordingbridge Flower Club put on an impressive display in the show's flower and garden marquee, on this year's theme 'From garden to countryside'.

Chairman Pat Mouland said: "We're here every year, with all the displays done by club members.

"We've been preparing for about six months and about a dozen club members have contributed.

"I'd like to say thank you to Ian Newman, who sponsors us and has paid for all of the flowers."

Also in the marquee was Fordingbridge's very own champion sweet-pea grower, David Manston, who was displaying and selling a selection of his flowers.

Equestrian events, for the first time over two days, also proved very popular with many showjumping and showing classes.

In the main arena, the horse show featured a working hunter category, ridden Appaloosas, pony and native coloureds and a ridden competition horse category - all new to this year's show.

The heavy horses also took centre stage, competing in a bareback derby and parade.

Rounding off a successful weekend, a proportion of the money raised from the official show guides will go towards Fordingbridge Hospital, while organisers look ahead to planning next year's event.