Seeds have been planted in preparation for a popular sunflower trail.

A spectacular summer of sunflowers is returning to Maiden Castle Farm, Dorchester, to raise funds for Dorset County Hospital’s Emergency and Critical Care Appeal.

Hazel Hoskin organises the trail every year in order to raise funds for charity.

The first year that the sunflower trail opened marked the 18th birthday of her eldest son who was born at just 26 weeks and spent two and a half months in the Special Care Baby Unit at DCH.

Hazel and her husband Richard Hoskin donated an amazing £15,400 from last year’s sunflower trail to the SCBU unit at DCH, bringing the overall amount that they have raised for the unit since 2021 to nearly £47,000.

Hazel said: “We’ll have to wait and see what the weather brings before we can provide the exact dates the sunflower trails will open but keep an eye on our website so that you can book your tickets early as soon as they go on sale.

“We’ve also got an amazing raffle with prizes including a fantastic driftwood sculpture and driftwood art workshops, to create your own sculpture to take home. Plus, Sundowner events in the evening – perfect for watching the sun set over the sunflowers.”

Dorset Echo:

Although a date has not been confirmed for the opening, the trail normally opens sometime between July and August - depending on the sunflower's growth.

One major new feature around the sunflowers will be an early evening run through the sunflower fields and around Maiden Castle, with a choice of 5km and 10km routes.

This year the sunflower trails will be complemented by a range of additional events and activities on the farm site and around Dorchester town.

Matilda Manley of Dorchester Town Council said, “We are running a number of special events to tie in with the sunflower theme – these include a Sunflower Summer Spectacle in Dorchester on Saturday, August 24 with fun family activities for all ages.”

READ MORE: Spectacular sunflower trail opens in full bloom

Another exciting new event is an art competition where four categories of painters will be encouraged to take part, from expert to under 16s, who will find a suitable location to set up their equipment then paint or draw their impressions of the sunflowers, to be later judged by a small panel.

Dorset Echo:

Dorset County Hospital Arts in Hospital Manager, Suzy Rushbrook said: “We’re really looking forward to this element of the sunflower summer – to bring together new and established local artists in a beautiful setting to create their own works of art.

“We hope to exhibit some of the winning paintings in the hospital’s new Emergency Department when it’s finished, so more people can enjoy them.”

Entry to the sunflower trail is £5 per person.

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