The following is an account by one of our team, Ali, of a family day out at Stock Gaylard’s annual Oak Fair. You can find details of the event here.
This was our first visit to the annual Oak Fair at Stock Gaylard on the August bank holiday weekend.
With over 200 stalls on the beautiful 1800 acre estate, Stock Gaylard was a perfect setting and we were blessed by the most amazing weather!
The fair, which is just over 4 miles from Sturminster Newton and 8 miles from Sherborne, has to be one of the most well thought out, welcoming events that we have ever attended.
For those not able to walk around the vast site there was the option to pre-book mobility scooters – and with plenty of watering points for the family to refill water bottles, as well as for our 4-legged friends, we didn’t need to either carry lots of bottles with us or have to spend excess money on drinks while wandering around the exhibitions. We were particularly grateful for this, especially on such a hot day.
The stalls and exhibitions were so varied, from eco builds and plants to woodcraft and conservation, arts and music, even a medieval bagpipe player! We watched clay pots bake (Beaker Pottery) in an open kiln and foresters prepare timber for domestic & industrial use.
For younger children there was tree climbing & a zip wire, for older ones, and adults, there was the opportunity to learn how to throw an axe with the men from Avalon Axes, which was particularly popular!!
Archery was open to all and we spent a long time talking with a lady from The Society for The Promotion of Traditional Archery who showed us all the different types of arrows and long bows, and how she learnt how to make her own long bows from different types of wood.
Displays were staggered all the way through the day so that you had the opportunity to see all of them! From Adam’s Axemen who could be seen axe wielding up tree trunks to Falconry displays.
We really enjoyed seeing the heavy horse logging teams, Elizabeth (Black & White) was just beautiful, with Richard Eames Horse Logging and Forestry Services, and our very favourite, because he was so cheeky and strong willed, was Beano (Tan) with Will Hampton of Dartmoor Horse Loggers.
The food area did not disappoint! With more than enough seating to either picnic, rest or partake in Dorset fayre we were spoilt for choice! Local ciders, ice cream, wild game burgers, cheese, pickle, cakes & vegetarian.
We left the fair with Dorset Blue Vinney, Oakwood Smoked Farmhouse Cheddar and locally made chutneys and bread which we ate in the car park!
Although we arrived before the gates opened and left as the gates closed we still did not see all there was to see! We had a fantastic day and will be certainly be returning to Stock Gaylard next year!