Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 19:15 UK

Queen visits one of Europe's largest livestock marts

The Queen meets farmer Gwyn Price and one of his lambs during her visit to Welshpool Livestock Market, Powys
The Queen meets farmer Gwyn Price and one of his lambs during her visit to Welshpool Livestock Market, Powys

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have visited one of the largest one-day livestock markets in Europe.

The royal couple were taken on a tour of the new multimillion-pound mart in Welshpool, Powys which opened in November.

They also visited a farmers' market in the town, where the Queen sampled some lamb and mint sauce produced by a company from near Bala, Gwynedd.

The royal visit will conclude a two-day tour of mid and north Wales.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh began their tour on Tuesday with visits to Caernarfon, Bangor and Llandudno.

They visited Caernarfon Castle, the scene of their son's investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969.

They went on to recreate a celebrated image from the occasion when they stepped on to the castle's Queen's Gate balcony before a cheering crowd more than four decades ago.

The Queen
I think the Queen keeps the status of the country.
Arthur George, farmer

The second day of the visit focuses on Welshpool and a tour of the town's livestock mart.

It is the largest one-day market of livestock in Wales and one of Europe's biggest sales centres of prime and breeding sheep.

Afterwards the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the town's historic farmers' market, which also included a visit to the town hall.

They met local producers and sampled Powys produce, including free range pork, Organic Aran Lamb, apple juice and cider from Berriew, beer from Waen Brewery, near Newtown, and jams and preserves from Goetre Farm Preserves.

Margaret Thomas of Organic Aran Lamb said: "We made a special batch of home made mint sauce, which she sampled with our selection of organic lamb produce."

The royal visit, raising the profile of farmers' markets has been welcomed by the Fork2fork - Real Food From Real People campaign, which supports direct sales in Wales.

Campaign spokesman Meilyr Ceredig said: "The fork2fork campaign welcomes the Queen's presence at the Welshpool Farmers' Market today drawing attention to the importance of fresh, direct and local food sales."

The Queen also met local school children during a lengthy walkabout.

"She was wicked, really cool," said nine-year-old Callum Greatorex.

Eva Matthews, six, added: "It was amazing to see the Queen because I have never met her before."

The Queen also met veteran farmer Arthur George, 80, of Pen-y-banc Farm, who was showing two Welshbred ewes in an enclosure.

"She wanted to know how old they were and was very interested in the breed and how many we have at the farm."

He added: "I think the Queen keeps the status of the country"

The Queen rejoined her husband, who toured the complex separately, before going on to visit the town's farmer's market and to open the new Welshpool Market Village.

The royal couple were then taken round a series of craft and food stands.

The tour to Welshpool concluded with a reception and luncheon at the town's Royal Oak Hotel.

Time for tea? The Queen meets stall holders in Welshpool, Powys

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