THERE will be no horticulture section at this year’s Royal Welsh Show, due to the “extreme financial challenges” faced by organisers.

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) said it has made the “difficult decision” due to significant operating losses made in the wake of the pandemic, and amid rising costs and inflation.

These are forecasted to develop into a major budget deficit if current spending is continued, and the society has revealed the horticulture section of the show is losing around £40,000 each year, thus leading to the decision to give the section a break in 2023.

The RWAS said it experienced a significant operating loss last year, which is predicted to continue if costs are not cut. It says big plans are being put in place to revamp the section in time for the 2024 Royal Welsh Show.

Richard Price, the honorary show director, said: “While we fully recognise this will be disappointing news for many visitors, competitors and volunteers, the year’s break will be an opportunity to develop the horticulture section ahead of a big re-launch in 2024.

“By having, in effect, a fallow year, it will give us more time to review how best we promote horticulture at the show going forward.”


Chief executive Aled Rhys Jones added: “This is an exciting opportunity to look at new ways to grow the section, working with other organisations, businesses and stakeholders to expand to areas such as winemaking, sensory gardens and junior competitions.

“There is also an opportunity to support the Welsh Government’s ambition to grow more of the fruit and vegetables we eat here in Wales, alongside targets to grow the commercial sector for ornamental horticulture.”

Visitors to this summer’s show, taking place from Monday-Thursday, July 24-27, will still be able to enjoy the many horticulture and gardening-themed tradestands, and the honey section will be relocated to the South Glamorgan Exhibition Hall.

In addition, there will be a brand-new ‘Welsh Food Village’ located at Entrance B, which will feature the very best of Welsh food and drink, along with a live music stage and seating to relax and soak up the atmosphere.

The promotion of horticulture is one of the society’s key charitable objectives and will continue to be an important feature in all events, including the gardening stands at the Smallholding & Countryside Festival in May and the floral art and horticulture competitions at the Winter Fair in November.

“The society would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Fred Slater, assistant honorary director for horticulture, for his dedication to the section as he embarks on his retirement later this year,” said a spokesperson.

“Dr Slater has been involved with the society since 1976 and is a true stalwart and ambassador for horticulture.”