LUDLOW’S biggest weekend in the year brought thousands of people into the town.

Sunshine and showers, some of them heavy, did not deter tens of thousands of people from flocking to the castle and Ludlow town centre for the three-day celebration of food and drink.

Top chefs from all over the country shared their skills with food enthusiasts and there were more than 150 food and drink stands.

New to the Festival this year is ‘Literary Ludlow’ marking some of the best books on food and cooking.

The busiest day of the festival was Saturday but the show got off to a flying start with people queueing back into the Market Square on Friday morning before the gates opened.

People continued to flock in from the local area and all over the country throughout the weekend.

While the cooking stages and most of the exhibitors were in the grounds of Ludlow Castle, the festival also spread its wings into the town, taking in other venues including the Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

Shops in the town joined in the fun and the sausage and ale trails were popular, allowing visitors to sample some of the delights that the town has to offer.

Despite its success, the food festival has continued to evolve and there were a number of changes for 2017 including the replacement of the large marquee and a different lay-out within the castle grounds.

There were also more serious debates, including the opportunity for people to consider the impact on food and farming of leaving the European Union.

Shane Holland, chair of Slow Food UK warned that Brexit would have serious consequences.

He said that in addition to increasing the cost of food there would also be problems in rural areas getting the staff needed to work in agriculture and the hospitality sectors.

Other sessions in what was labelled the ‘serious’ section included advice on how to cut back on food waste.

A list of top chefs included Ashley Palmer Watts of the Fat Duck Group and Chantelle Nicholas, chef patron at Tredwells, part of the Marcus Wareing Group.

A popular figure was John Whaite, winner of the third series of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off, who also writes about food and is resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine and a co-host of the food show ‘Chopping Block'.

Prudence Staite gave a demonstration of what can be achieved in art with chocolate. She not only paints with chocolate but also uses it to make impressive sculptures including in one case a walk-in wardrobe.

“Nothing goes to waste because if anything is left over I can just eat it,” she said.

Another popular feature was the open kitchen where chefs showed what can be done over an open fire.