THE Hergest Croft Gardens Spring Fair in Kington is a long-established entry in the calendars of garden enthusiasts the length and breadth of Herefordshire and beyond.

But this year’s event, due to be held from 10am to 5.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday, signals the end of an era.

The May 6 event will be the last with founders Elizabeth and Lawrence Banks at the helm as the couple prepare to hand over their duties.

They do so with the Fair at the top of its game and set to attract up to 40 plant and craft stalls from a wide range of local specialist nurseries this year.

The Marches Makers Festival, a group of artists, crafters and makers based around Kington, will also be exhibiting local sculpture in the garden and throughout the town from May 4 to May 6.

"The Fair’s grown a lot,’ said Lawrence.

"When we first started we had about 15 stands. Now there are up to 40."

The couple set-up the Fair in 1996 and although stepping down this year, they will continue their support of the event.

"The first Fair was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the building of the house and garden,’ said Elizabeth, a former President of the Royal Horticultural Society. Lawrence was Treasurer of the RHS.

"This Flower Fair was one of the first plant fairs in Herefordshire. Originally, it appealed to garden enthusiasts but now it attracts a much broader spectrum.

"We will miss it of course, as it’s our baby," Elizabeth said.

"The May Bank Holiday is the one of the best times to see the garden in its radiant beauty.

"The Garden should be at its Spring peak during the Fair with the hybrid rhododendrons out and hopefully the Pocket Handkerchief tree, too."

The Spring Fair actively encourages families and those with dogs.

Aside from the garden, there will also be an auction and raffle with proceeds going to St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford, which the Fair has supported in the past.

Many of the auction items are available for commission bids here through Brightwells Auctioneers before continuing on the day at the Fair.

Further details are available from the Hospice’s Community Fundraising Manager, Paddy Nugent, on 01432 851 000.

The Spring Fair signals the start of the Hospice’s Open Gardens season for 2019.

A full list of the gardens can also be found here.