Wool Fair!

Friday, June 20, 2014

It's no secret that I like to knit. So, I was super excited when I discovered that Ickworth was having a Wool Fair and I had to check it out.

Ickworth is a really beautiful and unique National Trust site near Bury St. Edmunds. The house itself was once owned by the Hervey family and features a domed rotunda, as well as an interactive 1930's servants quarters that'll make you feel like you're on Downton Abbey, and a vast collection of art and artifacts collected by the family. Surrounding the home are the Italianate Gardens and Victorian stumpery (which is my favorite. They took tree stumps and flipped them over so the roots are exposed) and a vast array of walking paths, walled gardens, and farmland. Plus there's a tea shop, a used book shop, a plant shop, and a playground for the kids.

The Wool Fair took place on a beautiful warm day (temperatures were near 20 C/ 68 F). Entry to the fair gave you access to both the house and the fair, but the festivities took place just beyond the Italianate Gardens behind the house.

Highlights included:

  • Sheep shearing
  • The Sheep Show- This was hosted by a hilarious Australian who made the sheep dance at the end of the show.
  • Alpacas
  • Green Dragon Morris dancers- They're the folks with the green face paint.
  • Sheepdogs- The sheepdogs shepherded a group of ducks from pin to pin. 
  • Food and crafts- I picked up a locally caught venison burger, fresh lemonade, and some chocolate/peanut butter pancakes a la mode as well as a few skeins of yarn.

Since I'd recently visited Ickworth House, I skipped the house and decided to explore Ickworth Church and the surrounding gardens and walking paths as the fair wound down. I ended up following one walking path for 2.5 hours through the woods (it turned out to be about 4 miles not including my walk from the front gate back up to the house). During my muddy walk, I saw lots of birds and grey squirrels and a giant stumpery tree stump. But the most special part of my visit was when 2 fully grown deer ran right past me during my walk. 

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