Final day for Dorset’s last cattle market in Shaftesbury


A 60-year-old cattle market, the last remaining one in Dorset, has closed its gates for the final time.

Shaftesbury Cattle Market is being sold by North Dorset District Council to supermarket chain Lidl to build a new store.

The final sale at noon began as usual with a cattle auction but was followed by a sale of the building’s fittings such as pens and gates.

Dorset farmer James Cossins said it was a “sad day”.

Campaigners had launched a legal challenge in an effort to stop the council selling the market but the High Court refused their bid for a review.

The district council said cattle sales there had been in decline and a new supermarket would boost the economy and create jobs.

  • Campaigners lose cattle market fight
  • Council to sell-off cattle market site

Mr Cossins, former National Farmers’ Union county chairman, said: “It’s a bit of a sad day for Dorset when we think we used to have Sturminster Newton market which was one of the largest calf markets in the country, we used to have Dorchester and Yeovil in Somerset and all of these markets have now gone.

“We’re going to have a take our cattle a bit further to Salisbury or Frome markets.

“The cattle markets are a social time for farmers – it can be quite a lonely job – but you could go out a meet other farmers at market for a weekly catch-up but sadly that’s all gone.”

Mr Cossins said they were “trying to encourage is more farmer-to-farmer dealing and local trading so we don’t have to transport animals so far”.

The cattle market off Christy’s Lane was established in 1955. Southern Counties Auctioneers has leased the site since 1967.

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Olivia Wilson
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