Farming Matters: Aylesbury cattle market

Aylesbury Cattle Market. Picture by Heather Jan Brunt
Aylesbury Cattle Market. Picture by Heather Jan Brunt

I was so excited to learn that a real livestock market is returning to the centre of Winslow for the Christmas Prime Stock Show in December.

The last time the market was held in the centre of town was over 100 years ago, and it’s a terrific return to tradition to bring it back into the very heart of the town.

I remember when I first came to live in Aylesbury many moons ago, the livestock market here was located where the Odeon cinema and open air car park now reside.

It was a big market, with plenty of pens and an auction ring. The farmers who came each week brought a lot of trade into the town, banking here, and doing a bit of shopping before returning home. It brought town and country together as shoppers sometimes popped into the market to look at the cattle, and the unmistakable aroma of manure filled the cobbled area.

I worked as a junior trainee reporter on the Bucks Advertiser back then, and the offices were located in Church Street, and in my lunch break I would sometimes wander across the Market Square and down to the market to say hello to my farmer boyfriend (wow, it seems strange to call him that - he’s been my husband for so long now!).

When the market closed, thankfully we had another livestock market not too far away in Thame to take the business.

But as markets around the country have closed over the decades, many farmers now have to travel on very long journeys to sell or buy their livestock.

I think the idea of a livestock market for Christmas in Winslow is a great one, and I wonder if it might catch on in other towns.