For the first time, the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire invites visitors to Harv’Fest, a celebration of the harvest season and all that is grown, cultivated, and produced on the Estate. Visitors can enjoy a programme of events, talks, demonstrations, and workshops throughout September.
Harvest season plays an important role in the calendar year for Wimpole. As the National Trust’s only in-hand arable farm, the 1000-acre farmland produces a large crop of organic produce every year and is grazed by the rare-breed cattle and sheep which are cared for on the Estate. The Walled Garden and Orchard, favourites with visitors to the Estate, produce fruit, vegetables and over 50 varieties of apple, which are used to make Wimpole apple juice, for sale at certain times throughout the year in the shop and restaurant.
Each weekend in September, events focus on a different theme; Produce, Gardens and Farming. On Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September, the Wimpole Kitchen Garden produce stall will offer visitors the chance to purchase the fruit (and veg) of the garden team’s labour. Demonstrations of traditional crafts, including ceramic making and wood turning will also take place across the weekend.
Wimpole Estate are also partnering with Anna’s Flower Farm, a local Cambridgeshire business, to offer flower arranging workshops. Alongside Wimpole gardener Joe Mott and Anna Taylor, visitors will enjoy a tour of the Walled Garden, pick their own flowers, and create a hand-tied bouquet to take home. Workshops are available on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, and can be pre-booked online for £65 per person. As part of this weekend’s focus on gardens, visitors can also enjoy a talk and tour with Senior Gardener Ciaran Taylor sharing the story of Wimpole’s orchard.
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September focus on the farm, with talks on nature-friendly farming and farming with Shire horses from Dave Hassall, Farm & Countryside Manager and Emma Warner, Countryside Manager. The Five Churches Vintage Tractor Run will also pass-through Wimpole on Saturday 17 September, sharing the history of farming, the importance of UK food production and showing how farming used to be done with vintage vehicles from a bygone era.
Sweet-toothed visitors will be satisfied too, with the opportunity to try Wimpole Ripple Ice Cream, vanilla bean ice cream rippled with homegrown fruits from the Walled Garden. Wimpole Ripple will be on sale during every weekend of Harv’Fest (whilst stocks last!) and the proceeds will go back into caring for the Estate.
Families can get involved in Harv’Fest with a sensory, interactive harvest play area at the farm throughout September. Wimpole are hoping to break the record for the world’s longest corn dolly (a traditional harvest custom where a figure is woven from wheat to encourage a good harvest the following year) with visitors help; the previous record is held by a group in Wales who crafted a 20-metre corn dolly.
Polly Ingham-Watts, General Manager for Wimpole Estate said, “Wimpole’s history is woven with links to farming and food production, the land having been farmed for over 2000 years. Sustainable land use remains an integral part of our work at Wimpole today, so the harvest season is always an important part of the year for our staff, volunteers, and visitors, from apples to hay bales, the produce is endless. We’re really excited to celebrate the season this year with our first ever Harv’Fest, which we hope to see grow and grow in the coming years”
All talks, demonstrations, and events (with the exception of the flower workshops) are included in the admission price or validation of a National Trust membership.
For more information, visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate.