The Ickworth Wool Fair attracted its biggest crowds ever this year, demonstrating how the popularity of this fibre is ever-growing! The glorious English treasure that is Ickworth House is still a working estate today. The Suffolk property was heavily influenced by Italian architecture and landscaping. It is truly a little piece of European beauty nestled in the British countryside.
Although the splendid estate has been running for over 70 years, it has only hosted this superb fair for the past three years. The event has been gaining traction since it was launched with over 3000 visitors attending this year, a record breaking number!
The annual sheep dog demonstrations were very popular and were a great chance for the resident shepherds to show off their star pupils. The impressive dogs were top of their game and did not seem put off by having an audience. They wowed the crowds with their skills and put on a great show.
The sunshine was also a great draw for the public who flocked to see the stalls offering all kinds of marvellous wool products.
This beloved National Trust property runs many events throughout the year including Shakespeare plays, such as Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet, and the much anticipated Proms in the Park with the fantastic Bury St Edmunds Concert Band.
They also hold family BBQ’s, children crafts in their beautiful grounds and gardens, and many important and educational conservation days.
Other animals in attendance included some charming runner geese and friendly alpacas which have their own rather beautiful wool that can be made into a myriad of lovely items.
Sheep shearing is shepherd Paul ‘Chap’ Seabrook’s speciality and he sheared an impressive 30 sheep a day at the fair. There are two tenant shepherds on the estate to tend to the sheep, in keeping up with the old traditions. The resident sheep keep the grass down and add to the stunning views
The show has gone from strength to strength with amazing archery demonstrations and Morris dancers to entertain the crowds. There were also some great exhibitions showing traditional crafts such as spinning. Children seemed particularly fascinated by the fairytale spinning wheels in use.
Additionally there were plenty of chances to see some fabulous knitting and to purchase the results. Crocheting was another skill that was showcased at the fair, a hobby that is gaining in popularity. Invented in the 19th Century it was incredibly popular in Victorian and Edwardian times and seems to have found a modern following as more and more people are taking up the pastime. Events like Ickworth Fair are a great chance for people to see the exciting ways wool can be used and the 2017 event is one to surely not be missed!