Where: The Barley Mow Inn, Bonsall, Derbyshire DE4 2AY
What is it?
World Championship Hen Racing takes place annually at the Barley Mow Inn, Bonsall, in Derbyshire. The races have been held in the village for nearly 30 years and competitors come from all over Europe to take part in this quirky event.
This year’s event will take place on Saturday 5th August, with registration taking place at around 12pm when the pub opens.
Hen racing has a long history in the area, with the local Derbyshire villages traditionally competing against each other in the summertime (for a bit of fun).
These days, the hen races take place over a track of about 15 metres. The hens are raced in heats and are given three minutes to cross the finish line. The hens are encouraged to ‘race’ to the end of the track, with competitors standing at the end shouting encouragement and tempting the birds along with food.
The rules of racing are simple, so anyone can give it a go. Hens must start the race with their feet on the ground, and hens that leave the track during the race must be placed back at the start. Most importantly, there must be no cruelty and no fowl play!
The hen races are free to enter and watch. Anyone with a hen can take part, just turn up on the day and register. For those who don’t have their own chicken, you can hire one on the day to join in with the eggcitement. A word of warning though, some competitors take the hen racing very seriously, and spend months training for the event (no really, they do).
This year there will be prizes for the Best Turned Out Hen & Handler, Prettiest Hen, and Most Well Travelled Hen.
As well as the hen racing there will be a Thornbridge Brewery beer festival, an all day BBQ with gourmet burgers, and live music from The Natterjacks. This year’s event will also see the BBC in attendance.