Quirky flowerpot figures spring up across Settle as summer festival grows to 200 colourful displays

A quirky tradition is running riot in a Yorkshire market town as it’s brought to life with a host of flowerpot figures.

There’s Mary Poppins with a trusty umbrella; a dinosaur with dots. And what started with a few people crafting has grown to outlandish size.

The Settle Flowerpot Festival began as a plan to draw visitors from the nearby Dales’ tourist trail. Now, nine years on, there are 200 entries in maverick style.

Such traditions must be among the very best of British ideals, making do with plastic pots and paints and a handful of cable ties.

The Settle Flower Pot Festival. Picture Bruce Rollinson

All it takes is a little imagination, some flowerpots and spare Christmas baubles. With a pinch of humour on the side.

Steve Amphlett is one of the organisers for the festival, which is now in full swing until the end of August.

People thought we were mad, when we first started putting flowerpots out,” he said.

“It’s really caught people’s imaginations. Flowerpot displays just started popping up all over.”

Last of the Summer Wine. The Settle Flower Pot Festival. Picture Bruce Rollinson

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There are the requisite resident characters; Postman Pat at the Post Office, Fireman Sam at the fire station. At the railway ticket office, the Fat Controller holds court.

Then an animated cycling fish, peddling slowly, while holding a sign to say ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’.

The Beatles make an appearance, as does the Pied Piper and Snow White. Fairy tales feature heavily, said Mr Amphlett, as do animals. There are gorilla pots, orangutan pots, sloth pots.

Alfie and Saskia, 9, join the Scout camp fire. The Settle Flower Pot Festival. Picture Bruce Rollinson

In lofty heights, on one leafy avenue, 30 bright parrot pots are strung from tree to tree.

“It’s quite an impressive sight,” said Mr Amphlett. “Each year there are more. It’s grown, from a few displays, to 200 across the town.

“It really has become a feature of life in Settle.”


Saskia, 9, and a Dolphin. The Settle Flower Pot Festival. Picture Bruce Rollinson

There are flowerpots from families, or businesses, ones made by local schools or the church or the library.

Some, like the dinosaur, return with a new reincarnation each year. The pots are recycled - there’s a collection every year.

“It’s not trying to be clever, it’s not competitive,” said Mr Amphlett. “It’s just very simple. With a real feel-good factor.

“We’ve never had a theme exactly, just that it must be made from flowerpots. We wanted to make people smile.

“They are brilliant - it’s such fun. Of course, people do have their own favourites.”


Back in School for Saski and Alfie. The Settle Flower Pot Festival. Picture Bruce Rollinson

One year, the group was donated a load of old Christmas baubles, which was a game changer to make flowerpot heads. Then a painter joined, whose art skills took it up a level.

This year, for the first time, organisers have a ‘home’ at the Watershed Mill, with a space for workshops for children this summer.

This year there are three different trails that people can take part in, at £2 each for £5 for all routes.

“The town has a lot of history, there are all these pockets of areas that people might not always see,” said Mr Amphlett.

“At first it was about bringing people to the town, and keeping people in the town. It seemed quite simple to do.

“Now, people come to Settle and say ‘we couldn’t do this in our town’. It does say something about Settle, and community spirit.

“It is guaranteed to make you smile. And it’s quirky. People like quirky things. It’s just amazing what you can do, with something as simple as a flowerpot.”

The festival runs all through the summer holidays. To find out more visit www.settleflowerpotfestival.co.uk


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Mary Poppins. The Settle Flower Pot Festival. Picture Bruce Rollinson