Top BBC wildlife presenter Mike Dilger appearing at the 2015 Aylsham Wide Sky Festival

Mike Dilger with Mo the Montagu's harrier when it was tagged in the Netherlands. The bird disappeare

Mike Dilger with Mo the Montagu's harrier when it was tagged in the Netherlands. The bird disappeared in the Great Bircham area on August 8 2014. - Credit: Archant

Music, theatre, art, history and wildlife lovers will be in for a treat at an eclectic town celebration.

Britten Sinfonia

Britten Sinfonia - Credit: Archant

This year's Aylsham Wide Sky Festival, which has the theme Vivat Aylsham meaning Long Live Aylsham, is happening from Friday May 22-Tuesday May 26.

It will include an appearance by BBC wildlife presenter Mike Dilger and local natural history author Patrick Barkham.

?The festival will feature a collection of Roman artefacts, in advance of a possible major archaeological dig in the town.

During the event there will be several opportunities to find out what the Romans did in Aylsham, with talks, displays and activities focused on the land around Woodgate Nursery, where evidence of a Roman settlement is prompting interest in a professional dig.

It is a lifelong ambition of Woodgate Nursery owner Peter Purdy to discover what Roman remains surround the site.

Mr Purdy said: 'Having spent the last 40 years of my life collecting pieces of Roman pottery from the garden and surrounding fields, and wondering where it all came from, it now appears that I am living right in the middle of a Roman settlement.'

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?Mike Dilger, the BBC wildlife presenter, and Patrick Barkham will be talking about north Norfolk ecology at Aylsham's Jubilee Family Centre, for The Hansells Conversation on May 22.

?Musical group the Britten Sinfonia will put on a classical concert in Aylsham Parish Church on May 26.

But the main theatrical event of the week is Wanderlust, from the Gramophones Theatre Company, in Aylsham Town Hall on May 25.

?An art project called Aylsham Afloat, will come to completion at the festival in the Art in the Garden event.

Paper lanterns, created by the local people, will be floated on the medieval fishponds in the grounds of Burgh House on May 23 and May 25 at 8pm.

Organised jointly by Aylsham High School and the festival committee, the project has been supervised by local artist Jessica Perry.

Helen Homewood, head of art at the high school, said: 'This is a really exciting arts project. We have already had a trial run, floating lanterns illustrated by students on the pool, and the results were brilliant.'

Sue Sharpe, from the Aylsham Festival, said: 'What is really fantastic about this project is the way so many people and organisations are working together to make it happen. It's a true community event.'

Photographs of the paper lanterns will be on exhibition at the town hall town hall and available for sale as cards and prints during the festival.

Visitors to Art in the Garden will be able to go on guided tours of the Burgh House grounds.

Tickets cost £2.50 with all proceeds to the festival.

?The Rotary Art Exhibition in the town hall will have a WI Café on May 23 and during the following day, May 24, it will host a Slow Food café and live music.

?Other festival events include a quick play chess tournament, special preview of the new Blickling Hall exhibition and the Great Aylsham Quiz.

?For more information visit or call the festival box office on 01263 733441.

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