Bisterne Scarecrow Festival Trail 2023

We followed this trail on a sultry morning.

This young woman photographing her children at Lower Bisterne Farm’s Happy Birthday Nemo!, the first exhibit, was happy, as were the youngsters, to point out the subject for me.

You Are A Hero Danger Mouse sat on the driveway to Stable Family Home Trust.

The nearby Cottage Garden was guarded by Indiana Jones.

Humpty Dumpty, by the residents of Three Elms, Kingston Common,

introduced us to a delightful, though bumpy, made up road through beautiful woodland, with ponies on its verges outside; the grey hugging the garage door and the bay already plagued with flies indicating the humidity of the day.

Out of this World at High Corner, and Bluey from Ashbourne Cottage,

with its fascinating weather vane were two more Kingston entries;

Gruffalo’s Child from Cobbs Cottage was another from Kingston Common.

Wot the Duck! was produced by the residents of Iona, Christchurch Road, BH24 3AX.

There were two exhibits from Gardens Close Farm on deeply undulating Charles’s Lane along which we needed to follow an equestrienne riding lesson; these were

Bob the Bisterne Boa, giving followers the opportunity to paint a pebble and add to the constrictor’s length, if not its girth;

and The Fairy Forest whose denizens required a bit of searching. The first of the portrait framed images seems to have once borne a balloon head, now burst.

Fairies have possibly munched mushrooms on the forest floor.

A couple of years ago I had an agreeable conversation with the woman who lived at 51 Bagnum Lane. We both thought she should have won a prize, which she didn’t. I was happy to note that this year

she won both Class 2 – Pair of Scarecrows, and Champion’s rosette, with Grow Your Own.

The last two exhibits, from 39 Sandford, were Groot’s Forest Game,

and Cool Runnings, celebrating Jamaica’s successful bobsleigh team.

Whenever we are in Ringwood at a suitable time we brunch at Aroma Café, which we visited regularly when we lived at Minstead. This is a very reasonably priced unfussy eating house with a license for alcohol. There is an outside covered seating area.

In the intervening 10 years the establishment has flourished tremendously, and rightly so.

The friendly, welcoming, and efficient young staff enjoy warm and amusing relationships with each other and with customers alike. There are clearly many visitors who are as well known as we once were. Wheelchairs and buggies are equally happily accommodated.

One bonus, not always found in cafés, is that the robust cutlery cannot be bent and actually cuts the meat.

At this peak time on a very popular day we did not have to wait long for food, and our full tea and coffee cups were carried with concentrated care by our waiter who spilled not a drop while slaloming, one in each hand, around ambulant customers and servers from the counter to our table.

Jackie, in particular, had forgotten just how plentiful our platefuls would be. Not realising that it came with chips as standard,

she enjoyed an allegedly only 9″ soft crust Margarita pizza with added mushrooms; while I happily chose

Gammon delight with a large, lean, added rasher of bacon. The tomato was tinned, but I expected that, and the egg a little firm. Everything else was perfect. At a total cost of £28 we certainly had our money’s worth.

Despite her acknowledged desire and help from me Mrs Knight was unable to eat either all her crusts nor her chips. I couldn’t work the sea salt grinder, but she could.

No-one will be surprised to learn that we needed no further nourishment this evening.


  1. What a pleasure to do something different and enjoy a delicious meal at the end that neither of you had to prepare 🙂 🙂

  2. It looks like reasonably good weather for the festival, and a wide variety of exhibits. The collective imagination and creativity behind them is outstanding! A good meal out, too.

  3. Wow, what a terrific tour you’ve given us! I thoroughly enjoyed everything – except – you can keep the boa!!

  4. A fun day and so much delicious food, win! is this a post code: BH24 3AX ? I’ve not seen one like that yet they are similar to the post codes in Canada..

    1. Yes – it is a postcode. I put it in because there is a better known Kingston which is now a London Borough. Thanks very much, John

  5. Is there a reason this takes place at this time of year? I’m so accustomed to associating scarecrows with autumn/Thanksgiving/harvest/Halloween that your scarecrow festival feels out of season — but wonderful fun, for sure!

    1. I don’t know the reason, but it does seem to be at this time each year. Maybe the normally expected weather? Thanks very much, Linda.

    1. Thanks very much, Bridget. We tend to meet others following the trail. One woman said that her two children (one a teenager) say they only come round for their mother. Indeed, they didn’t even leave the car for the Fairy Garden.

  6. I love the scarecrows trail, what a fun day. Graham used to make super ones to display in the village, we were/are a little too far to be included in the trail.
    I love the cafe visit, your ham and eggs look far nicer than the ones Joshua was served yesterday. Another story to tell!

  7. I always enjoy the scarecrow festival photos. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I love seeing the mother and children having fun. I’d want to spread a blanket and have a nap in the fairy forest.

  8. I have never seen interesting events like festival trails in any of the dozens of towns in 3 states I’ve lived in. A boring lot we Aussies are. There are festivals but usual in one location like a sport field. You have made me feel hungry.

  9. I LOVE the scarecrow trail, particularly The Gruffalo (fond memories of reading this story to my son). The food looks delicious at Aroma and your description about the expertise of the waiter slaloming your hot drinks to you made me smile. I hope you do a review for Google, they would appreciate your kind words.

  10. Hay there! (HA!) I always enjoy when you share the scarecrows with us! They are so festive, fun, and creative!
    Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head made me laugh! Love the rock-boa! What fun!
    Too bad there isn’t a scarecrow who could scare away all of those darn pesky flies! Poor ponies!
    Your meals look hearty and delicious!
    (((HUGS))) ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  11. Bob is my type of boa. I was a bit worried for a moment when I saw the container. My sweetheart doesn’t eat his crusts either. I often tidy a few up, just to help out! I kept changing favourites as I scrolled through the scarecrow event which is always a good sign.

  12. Jackie chose my favorite: margarita pizza… but I would have eaten those crusts! The displays along the roadsides were fascinting. What a fun activity! I was glad to see that 51 Bagnum Lane won some prizes this year. Thanks for sharing all the fun with us, Derrick. My favorite, though was the bay (in spite of the flies). Such magnificent photography!

  13. Interesting outing for children, espeically–I felt perplexed but entertained.
    You often enjoy a hearty meal and that’s great to read about and see. My appretite (after the surgery-related problems) is returning but still a bit wane.

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