ANCIENT crafts, foraged foods and other rustic treats delighted visitors to the sixth annual Forage Festival on Saturday.

The event, which is held by the RSPB at Arne Nature Reserve, saw more than a thousand visitors, young and old, thrilled by demonstrations of ancient bronze forging, rustic furniture making and the building of dry stone walling in the autumn sunshine.

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Alongside the activities were food stalls selling locally-sourced meats with cheeses, cider, preserves and other goodies made or foraged in Dorset, along with music from the Wimborne Ukulele Band.

Among the attractions was the Ancient Wessex Network, a 'living history' and experimental archaeology group from south Dorset, demonstrating varieties of ancient pottery, stone jewellery and bronze weaponry.

Potter, Bill Crumbleholme said: "This is the third time we have been down here, although it is a bit out of the way it is a fantastic location.

"We always enjoy being here and the Poole Harbour area is steeped in archaeological history, particularly pottery and the black-burnished ware the Romans made nearby, which spread across the UK and northern France."

Rustic furniture maker Peter Moors, from Wimborne, demonstrated building a chair from foraged beech wood.

"I have been here every year since it started, it is nice location," he said.

Event organiser Rob Farrington, of the RSPB, said: "As the festival has grown we have put more emphasis on people trying things, so people can have a taste at the food stands, and see demonstrations of rural crafts.

"It is great for kids, and the idea is getting them comfortable with having fun outdoors rather than sitting inside in front of a television - to get them interested in nature.

"This is the first year we have charged people to come in but it is really only to cover the costs.

"It is a weather dependent event, but it is the second largest event we hold at the reserve and it is gaining momentum."