The traditional harvest celebrations at Winchester Cathedral return this year over the weekend of October 5-6 with a new feel and new partners.

As well as the traditional stalls from agricultural representatives, the newly styled Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend invites visitors to reflect upon the impact of climate change. It comes at the end of Winchester Green Week, a series of events around the district designed to increase awareness locally.

New this year is the Big Top marquee, sponsored by Winchester University. The marquee will host talks and displays from Winchester University, Sparsholt College, WinAcc (Winchester Action on Climate Change), Winchester Green Week and many others.

Bees are a key focus of the whole event and Winchester School of Art are making a giant bee from recycled products, funded by Winchester City Council, to hang on the front of the cathedral.

The Festival will again feature independent Hampshire producers and members of Hampshire Fare, and provides an insight into one of the most important aspects of the county’s economy. A wide range of displays and activities can be enjoyed by people of all ages. You can take a ride on a horse drawn carriage or climb onto vintage farm machinery; or why not watch a falconry display, find out about bee-keeping, listen to the fairground organs or learn about The Bat Society? As well as the agricultural stalls, there will be a variety of foods on offer celebrating Hampshire fare, as well as a vintage food van offering locally sourced food and drink.

The weekend is supported by the University of Winchester, NFU, Country Landowners’ Association, Sparsholt College, WinAcc,Winchester College of Art, Winchester Green Week and Hampshire Fare.

Dean of the Winchester, Very Revd Catherine Ogle, said: “We are delighted to be working again with the agricultural community of the county. Harvest Festival is an ancient tradition in the church that is completely contemporary celebrating agricultural and farming life and food-production in our county today. We want to thank God and celebrate the harvest and also raise awareness of what is sustainable and just.”

In the morning of Saturday 5th, under the giant bee, the Cathedral will be presented with an EcoChurch Silver Award by the Revd Rosie Ward from A Rocha, recognising the steps that the Cathedral is taking to encourage an environmentally friendly approach in its ministry and operations.

Harvest services will include a 10am Harvest Festival Sung Eucharist on Sunday 6 October and the preacher at the 3.30pm Hampshire Harvest Service will be Bishop Graham Cray, formerly Bishop of Maidstone, who is now at the forefront of the debate about fracking.