HEREFORDSHIRE is heading off to the Continent: despite the uncertainties of Brexit, this rural county with big ambitions will be boldly reaching out to Europe in the next few days.

The EU spotlight will be focused on Herefordshire and all it has to offer for four key days from February 18 – 22.

A major exhibition highlighting the county’s long farming heritage, its sought after food and drink, bags of military history, inspiring architecture, burgeoning high-tech industries and of course the area’s celebrated landscape will be held at the European Parliament in Brussels.

This “extraordinary” concept will provide a striking and original Herefordshire Showcase, a bold and abstract display to demonstrate just what the county has to offer.

Indeed the bigger aim is not just to intrigue and attract but to inspire sustained interest that could pave the way to investment.

Anthea McIntyre, who represents the county as an MEP in Brussels, has secured the main exhibition space in the Parliament building, where movers and shakers from all over Europe will get a real sense of Herefordshire’s core values.

Key factors will include the county’s commitment to quality materials and produce, land and landscape, craft and manufacture in different media, education and innovation.

Curating the exhibition, principal of Hereford College of Arts Abigail Appleton said the MEP for West Midlands had managed to secure funding for students to travel to Brussels to build the exhibition.

Their job will also be to invigilate and champion the county, she said. The high-profile visit would also offer the chance to learn more about the Parliament and culture of the Belgian capital.

The recently appointed principal, who came to HCA after a long career with the BBC, explained that large 3D shapes would feature some of the core materials of Herefordshire’s past and future from our “rich red soil to apple mash”.

She said that other sections would promote heritage, tourism and agriculture with maps and icons.

She joked that the Herefordshire Showcase supporters were referred to as the ‘Green Dragon gang’ explaining “as I have come to think of the Green Dragon launch of this wonderful Brussels adventure”.

Guests were invited to a meeting at the hotel in Broad Street in order to canvass their views.

The MEP pointed out that the exhibition would have “nothing to do with politics”.

She said: "It is simply an opportunity to present Herefordshire to the whole of Europe and other parts of the world.”

The very busy setting at the heart of the European Parliament will allow 110 square metres of exhibition space, offering the county delegation to “highlight the many facets of Herefordshire”.

Miss McIntyre added: “This will emphasise that the county is a great place to do business and to visit and sample the cultural diversity which we have to offer.”