Halesworth Heritage Open Days
Celebrate Halesworth’s heritage with trails, talks, open days, displays, drama… and more.
Halesworth Heritage happening celebrates the towns heritage and this year it’s expanded to Walpole and Holton in order to include some fascinating public buildings holding events and talks. In previous years, the celebration has been of our built environment with the opening of buildings not usually seen by the public. This year the theme is Edible England and lots of the events are outdoors with a programme of guided and self-guided walks.
The opening weekend, 11 and 12 September sees Puritan Food at Walpole Old Chapel where you can read the recipes and taste the food that put the fire in the belly of the religious independents who worshipped there. The fiercely ‘independent’ congregation in Cookley and Walpole first ‘gathered’ in 1649 and the chapel was constructed in c1690, by converting an existing Suffolk farmhouse. It has been very little altered since then.
Over the weekend 18 and 19 September The Cut will be Halesworth Heritage happening’s HQ and will host events throughout the two days. The main auditorium will have a continuous stream of short films and performances. With a play reading of The Lover by Open Space Theatre, David Wollweber with a talk on The Lincolne Letters (following on from the book launch at Two Rivers Book Festival the previous weekend), Jenny Hall will be covering Food and Shakespeare: Comedy, Disgust & Delight. Poet Dean Parkin introduces Halesworth Whispers, and you can see Living Art from Beth Keys-Holloway and hear Halesworth Community Choir.
St Mary’s Church is hosting a wonderful range of events on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 Celebrating Mediaeval Heritage with Flowers and Music. With an all-day flower Festival, a family friendly heritage trail and quiz, and musical interludes from an organ recital with Jason Busby, to Auroriens with Vetta Wise, and 17/18th century music from France, Germany, and England on period instruments with The Rococos. Sunday 19 sees a special Harvest Festival Service. There’s a self-guided tour The Argentine Trail and more.
This year we’re including Halesworth Airfield Museum where Richie Pymer will be giving a talk at 11am on 18 & 19 September and Holton Post Mill will be open for tours on Sunday 19 September. You can also visit Kaliwoods, a five-acre woodland in Holton and see an extant men’s urinals from when the site was part of the RAF hospital.
Halesworth Museum is always worth a visit and during the Festival you can catch No Ordinary Joe, No Ordinary Kennedy an award-winning radio play from INK on both days.
On Saturday at 11.00, author Annie Garthwaite will be discussing her new newly published historical novel Cecily and signing copies at Halesworth Bookshop, and there are more events on all weekend at this wonderful independent bookshop.
James Hewett of the Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway Society will lead guided walks around part of the Halesworth Millennium Green (the largest such Green in the country), highlighting the industrial archaeology of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries: the 1761 Blyth Navigation and the 1879 narrow gauge Halesworth to Southwold Railway on both days at 12pm.
Halesworth Library will be mounting a display of local history and records and Black Dog Antiques in the Market Place, a former merchant’s house, will be showing a display of documents, photographs, and artefacts, some recovered during recent restoration work.
There are many more tours and talks covering the Ancient House Bistro carvings on Sunday morning with coffee and cake, Buildings and Gardens – stories of Halesworth, Heritage Trees in Halesworth, The Hooker and Malt Trail, and a tour of Halesworth’s hives with a Bee Trail.
All festival events are free which has been made possible with the generous support of Halesworth Town Council and our sponsors, Halesworth Print Finishers and Micropress Printers.
Donations for events during Heritage Open Days in Halesworth are gratefully received, so please look out for our donation boxes.
Pre-booking is not available, and places will be allocated on a ‘first come’ basis. Some events will be weather dependent, so fingers crossed for good weather!
You can search for events here www.heritageopendays.org.uk and keep an eye on Facebook – @halesworthheritageopendays