DorsetFest's debut appearance was in 2014. However, before we became a festival, we were a village fete run entirely by volunteers. The Three Churches Fete showcased some of the most beautiful homes in the area raising money for the churches in Hilton, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey. These churches are not only historic buildings, but they are also the cornerstone of our rural communities. After a particularly wet fete in 2013, we decided we wanted to do something different; a festival.
DorsetFest is still run, organised and executed exclusively by local volunteers. If you would like to get involved please get in touch with us - we are always looking for new volunteers and fresh ideas. All of the money raised is split between the churches, as well as donated to rotating charities.
The collective and welcoming spirit remains at the heart of our event. We may have grown, but our roots remain the same.
The attractive rural village of Hilton lies in a fold in the chalk downland beyond the mighty Milton Abbey. This is a quiet place and the church is tranquil too. The present building, thought to have been erected in 15c, almost certainly replaced an earlier version because there is evidence of both Saxon and Norman masonry.
St Martin's, Cheselbourne
The origins of this very attractive church, with a proud upstanding tower and constructed largely from flint, are shrouded in mystery, although the guide suggests there has been worship taking place on the site for about a thousand years.
St Andrews - Melcombe Horsey
This delightful little country church rests in the grounds of a great house in what must be described as an exquisitely beautiful setting. There was certainly an earlier church on the site, the records of which go back to 1150 and are held in the County Museum Library.
The money raised by DorsetFest is essential to maintain these beautiful buildings and the communities that they support.
where the money goes
this year we are also supporting...
DorsetFest 2024 is delighted to support Julia's House Children's Hospice. This charity operates across Wiltshire and Dorset to bring comfort and care to the families it supports. Julia's House exists to help families whose children have life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.
Find out more about their amazing work here.