'It's wonderful' - Joy at return of Worstead Festival to village

The Haydon family at Worstead Festival 2022.

The Haydon family at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

There was fun on two legs as well as four at the Worstead Festival this weekend, which returned for the first time since 2019.

Hundreds of people made their way to the village, near North Walsham, for the event, which was being held for the 57th time and is billed as a celebration of farming and rural life. 

Jane Bond, chairperson, said she was delighted with how the two-day celebrations - which centre around the village church and nearby fields - had gone.

Ms Bond said: "We've had a record-breaking number of people through the gates - it's wonderful to see so many people out enjoying themselves again. 

 "We've had the duck and dog racing, we've got the sheep show, we've got fabulous music and we've got an old gypsy caravan which has been brought out especially for the festival."

Simon Gray, another of the organisers, said this year's event had an added meaning because it was the first since his wife, Lorraine, died in June last year.  

Mrs Gray worked with volunteers to set up a demonstration kitchen 10 years ago, which returned as part of the festival. 

Most Read

The kitchen gave visitors the chance to see and smell food being prepared by chefs including Bruce Patterson from Worstead Wagyu, Steve Norgate from Chef Norgate, Richard Bainbridge from Benedict's, Daniel Smith from the Ingham Swan and Roger Hickman.

Musicians performing at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Musicians performing at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Gray said: "Lorraine conceived and developed the attraction and enjoyed visiting many of the county's leading restaurants and hotels begging chefs to give their time to support the festival and since then the feature has attracted more and more chefs, cooks and artisan food producers."

Other attractions included a Lego tent organised by Worstead VC primary school, stalls selling crafts made in the village, a circus school and licenced bars. 

The volunteer-run festival began in 1965 when it was founded to raise money to save the church.

A couple enjoying the live music at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

A couple enjoying the live music at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

It raises money for the festival charity's grant fund by promoting the crafts, produce and heritage of the region.


Worstead: A proud heritage 

The sheer size of Worstead's parish church lets you know there is more to this village than meets the eye. 

More than 600 years old, St Mary's has been called "one of the most impressive medieval village churches in Norfolk" - and its construction is all thanks to the wool trade. 

Worstead prospered after weavers from Flanders started to arrive in the area from the 12th century, turning the village into a major centre of for wool and producer of high-quality woolen cloth, which itself came to be called Worstead.

Although Worstead is no longer made in Norfolk and the last weaver, John Cubitt, died in 1882, the village is still proud of its farming heritage, which goes on show each year at the Worstead Festival. 

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Haydon family at Worstead Festival 2022.

The Haydon family at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Jane Bond, festival chairman, at Worstead Festival. Picture: Danielle Booden

Jane Bond, festival chairman, at Worstead Festival. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The Sheep Show at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

The Sheep Show at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

One of the horses at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

One of the horses at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Emily blowing bubbles at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Emily blowing bubbles at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Steven Norgate doing a cooking demonstration at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Steven Norgate doing a cooking demonstration at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Bread Source at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Bread Source at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Children enjoying the climbing wall at Worstead Festival 2022. Picture: Danielle Booden

Children enjoying the climbing wall at Worstead Festival 2022. - Credit: Danielle Booden