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It's back! Toby's Harvest Festival 2018 - Four Thoughts

September brings with it thoughts of change, that distinctive Autumnal scent in the air and something that's set to become a bit of a Somerset tradition we reckon - Toby Buckland's celebration of all things Harvest, the garden and a whole host of making too!

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The festival at the beautiful Forde Abbey, Somerset

That's right! Toby's Harvest festival is back at beautiful Forde Abbey over the weekend of the 15th & 16th of September and last year, we had a fantastic time exploring all the awesome things to do in these stunning surroundings - the unique apple press was a massive favourite, as were the great plant and craft stalls, and that's where we discovered Lilliput Gin for the first time too. Oh yes! :)

If you missed the blog about last year's festival, you can catch up right here).

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Fun, flowers and our own pressed apple juice at last year's Fest

Anyway, we were really keen to chat to Toby one year on, to share with you what's new for this year's festival... so hold on to your seasonal hats, as we ask the man himself four questions we think you'll love to know the answers to!

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Toby making his own gin at last year's festival

1. What are your hopes for this year's Harvest Festival and what can visitors expect to experience over the two days?

I think this is our best and most diverse Festival yet! There are so many fascinating speakers and demonstrations to get amongst... from vintage tractors, scything and jam making, to listening to the heart-beat of trees! Don't ask me how this is done, all I know is that Alex Metcalf who worked on BBC1's 'My Passion for Trees' with Dame Judi Dench, is bringing his equipment and headphones.

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Fancy listening to the heartbeat of a tree? Definitely a unique experience

2. What new things are you most excited about this year and why?

I think the Fest is unique in the amount of free stuff there is to do and there truly is something for all the family... from circus skills for the kids, learn-to-knit demo's, paper-flower and jam making, to cut-flower growing and cookery demos with Trill Farm. 

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Food, drink and a great atmosphere

3. Last year there were some amazing talks and demos. What would you say is the 'pick of the bunch' this year? ;)

The gardens have always been beautiful at Forde, but with new Head Gardener Josh Sparkes taking over the reins, they're set to become more naturalistic. I'm looking forward to hearing him speak and discovering more about his plans. Also, we have John Challis - aka Boycie from Only Fools and Horses and Monty from Benidorm. He's a great raconteur, as is plants-man and plant-hunter, Matt Biggs - and my friend, Alys Fowler. She's such an interesting speaker and always has a new take on what we should be growing, cooking and eating. Alys will be talking about her adventures in gardening, as well as fermenting and preserving veg for winter.  

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Alys Fowler, one of the guest speakers at Toby's Harvest Festival

4. Tell us a secret about the 2018 Fest that no-one else knows!

Willow sculpteress, Serena De La Hey, is coming to the Fest and we've commissioned a giant willow head from her as part of our campaign to secure the future of the M5 Willow Man at Bridgwater. Getting it to the Fest was a real game as not only is it delicate, it's also HUGE! I know it'll have an impact though, as people were shouting 'what's that!!' at the flat-bed truck as it trundled through Chard!  

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The beautiful willow head sculpture that will be part of the Festival at Forde Abbey

Ha! We can just imagine! :) We're so excited to see the beautiful willow head up close and personal... and take me to the tree listener! Can't wait to see Alex in action. We're a little bit tree-obsessed (is that a thing?), so it will be fascinating to experience the sounds of the trees at Forde Abbey. Wow!

Anyway, if you'd like to come and join the Harvest fun (the weather's set to be great too) you can buy your tickets in advance right here and your furry friends are welcome too (yay!), so our hounds, Petal and Flower, will certainly be coming with us to soak up the atmosphere again!

Happy Harvest everyone :)

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Happy stilt performers at last year's Harvest Festival :)


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