THE gates had not opened on the first day but there was not a parking place to be had in Ludlow Town centre when the 25th Food Festival opened its doors.

Thousands of people have flooded into the town for the Festival that has chalked up a quarter of a century.

Top chefs from all over the country demonstrated a wide range of cooking skills.

Stall holders were selling produce including the best of locally made food and drink.

On a beautiful early autumn day, the bars and cornucopia of eating places seemed to be doing a brisk trade.

Despite the numbers of people there appeared to be few queues with many visitors having taken up the option to buy their tickets in advance.

Whilst the Festival had retained tried and test features that have provided its character there were a number of subtle changes.

As well as enjoying the food and demonstrations people were also able to tour the historic castle and marvel at the structure.

People appeared to be visiting shops and pubs in the town on their way to and from the Food Festival, giving a much-needed end of summer season boost to traders in the town.

Numbers are still being counted but in the past the Festival has brought more than 20,000 people into Ludlow.

As well as the main town centre car parks, many people left their vehicles outside of the town centre including at the Rugby Club, at the Eco Park and at the Racecourse.

There were host of celebrity chefs included Kwoklyn Wan who revealed the secrets to cooking perfect Chinese takeaway dishes.

Rachel Green from Lincolnshire gave a demonstration of fish cuisine and brought a cheer when she announced that the cod, she was cooking had been brought from Ludlow.

She said that the impact of Brexit on the fishing industry was unknown but that British fish stocks are good.

Many of the chefs had interesting stories to tell including Richard Buckley from Avon who is a vegan cook.

He was brought up as a vegetarian and told the audience that as a child this had provoked alarm from childcare professionals and even threats that he might be taken from his parents.

Mr Buckley subsequently went a stage further and became a vegan, but in his demonstration tried to show that it is possible to eat well without meat or dairy products.

This dish he made was based around donkey carrots.

Slow Food Ludlow also had a strong presence with a number of masterclasses showing how to get the best from locally sourced produce.

Another local group that were attracting a lot of interest were the Ludlow beekeepers who appeared to be doing a brisk trade with their honey. There was an emphasis upon enthusing the next generation of food fans and a number of schools visited.