Nature reserve gets crafty to attract visitors

Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve Craft and Food Market.
Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve Craft and Food Market.
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A monthly craft fair is bringing a new audience to a Wearside nature reserve.

Hundreds have been flocking to the Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve Craft and Food Market, which is held on the first Sunday of the month.

Tired of a lack of large-scale craft fairs in the area, Fiona Harnett set up the event in a bid to rival the regular craft fair in Tynemouth.

“I wanted to put Houghton back on the map as a market town,” she said.

“Although there are craft markets, the larger ones charge, and the others are often held in places like village halls.

“I was thinking of where to hold the event and the Nature Reserve is such a hidden gem.

“The idea is that people can come along and spend the whole day here, at the reserve. It’s a lovely area, but I think a lot of people still don’t realise it’s here.”

The next event will be held on Sunday from 10am to 4pm and entry is free.

Highlights will include various stalls, a biker rally and a performance from Tom Smith, 11, from East Rainton.

The talented musician, who attends Houghton Kepier School, has performed with the likes of James Bay, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Frankie & the Heartstrings.

Fiona added: “This is our sixth event and it just gets bigger and bigger.

“There are about 70 stalls inside and out, featuring everything from crafts, foods and real ale to hair braids.

“The footfall is great. We have hundreds of people coming along and the feedback is really positive. It’s a very friendly atmosphere and people like that they can bring their dogs.”