PREPARATIONS are under way for this year's Wychwood Forest Fair, which will be held at Aston Road, Ducklington.

Friends of Wychwood are delighted with the site they have found this time, and are confident this year's fair will be as successful as last year's, which attracted record crowds.

The original Forest Fair began in the late 18th century, and was held deep in Wychwood Forest, at Newhill Plain, Cornbury. That fair ceased in 1856, because things got out of hand due to drunkenness and debauchery.

Since the fairs resumed in 2000, they have been happy family events, which have been held at different locations around the Wychwood area, to help indicate the extent of the former forest, which covered much of what is now West Oxfordshire in the 11th century This year, the fair will have more than 180 stalls and activities for visitors to enjoy, including George Hatwell's Children's Fun Fair, which is particularly popular with the youngsters.

There will also be a Green Man children's story teller, several local Morris dancing sides, and other entertainments. There will be archery demonstrations too, which give members of the public a chance to have a go themselves. The archery proved such a success last year it's back by popular demand. As usual, there will be a wide range of rural crafts on display, including hedge-laying, stone-walling, and thatching. There will also be an arts and crafts tent, displaying and selling a wide range of goods. Refreshments will include pig roasts, a tea tent, manned by Friends of Wychwood, and a beer tent, selling beer brewed at Witney's Wychwood Brewery.

The fair will take place on Sunday, August 31, from 11am to 5pm. You will find the site easily, as it will be well signposted once you reach the A415 south of Witney.