Enjoy poetry, music and song at the Cattistock Fox Festival

  • Category: Art & Culture
  • Date: Monday, 01 January 0001

When you pay a visit to the rolling countryside of Dorset it's hard not to bowled over by its natural beauty and varied wildlife. 

And this October (4th to 6th) you can develop an even greater appreciation of the county's iconic animals at the first ever Fox Festival in the tranquil village of Cattistock near Dorchester. 

Having had its own hunt since the 18th century, the village is the perfect location for this weekend of poetry, music and song dedicated to this four-legged favourite, which has been somewhat venerated over the years by Cattistock locals, who celebrated one plucky fox's rooftop escape in the 1806 ditty the 'Cattistock Hunting Song'.

Then in the 1920s, hunt master Henry Higginson even wrote a whole book about foxes' great escapes, entitled 'The Fox That Walked on Water'.

Given the history and local flavour of the event, this inaugural Fox Festival is must-visit for anyone staying in west Dorset between October 4th and 6th, particularly if you're staying at the Summer Lodge in Evershot, which is just three miles from Cattistock. 

And with the Summer Lodge currently offering 3 nights for the price of 2 and weekend festival tickets costing just £15, combining the two also represents great value for money. 

Events you can expect to enjoy during your time at the festival include a troupe of French huntsmen playing the 'Trompes de Chasse', a horn-blowing competition, a quiz, and performances of the old 'Cattistock Hunting Song'.

On the Sunday, the weekend closes in spectacular style with a peal of bells from the village church before the world premiere of the oratorio 'The Fox That Walked On Water' written specially for the festival by Nick Morris.

'I wanted the piece to capture the mystery and spiritual nature of Merrily's writings on the fox, and its position in folklore, but also to hark back to the roots of rural church music in Dorset,' the composer said.

'We have a wonderful orchestra and choir to perform this piece and are working to make its premiere at the Fox Festival a memorable occasion.'