More than a year after Saffron Walden first celebrated 'Saffron Day', the organisers are looking at when the festival might return.

Saffron Day, held on October 16, 2022, was the concluding event in the Heritage Development Group's second project, 'Engaging Saffron Walden with the Saffron Story', funded by a Heritage Lottery grant.

The project was born of the query 'Why is it called Saffron Walden?', and aimed to highlight the historic importance of saffron cultivation in and around the town between the mid-15th and late-18th centuries - as well as attracting more visitors.

An information board on the side of the town hall was set up to explain Saffron Walden's unique name and the various uses of saffron.

A colour-illustrated leaflet was also made available, with 5,000 distributed and a further 7,500 printed recently.

During 2022, visitors could go on accompanied walks through the town, pointing to numerous associations with saffron and images of the saffron crocus, both old and new.

Primary school pupils learnt about the history of saffron cultivation, including how children used to help with growing saffron and how it was used as a dye in cooking and medicine.

The Saffron Day event, supported by the town council, was attended by around 1,500 people and promoted saffron and saffron-related products.

Attendees enjoyed a display of cooking with the spice, and it also featured in an exhibition at the town's museum.

A workshop demonstrated techniques used to create 'pargeting', a form of plasterwork decoration which often used the crocus motif and can be seen locally on 17th century houses.

The day also featured historical re-enactors in Tudor costume and Thaxted Morris dancers, while Fairycroft House provided suitable music.


Now the Heritage Development Group is rallying support for the festival's return.

The group's chair Judith Rodden said: "So, when will it all happen next? It was agreed that Saffron Day would take place at intervals rather than annually.

"When it is celebrated again depends on Saffron Walden’s enthusiasm and willingness to become actively involved: over to you...while the Heritage Development Group is starting to think about another very different project."