THOUSANDS of wild flowers planted alongside Stratford Park's picturesque pond will serve as a lasting reminder of the success of this year's Stroud Festival of Nature.

Saturday's event, which attracted vast crowds from far and wide, proved a day to remember, with the park's beautiful grounds awash with golden sunshine.

Visitors to the festival basked under trees and enjoyed family picnics, while others explored the park's arboretum, woodland and wilder areas.

This year over 40 organisations and individuals representing various environmental charities and conservation groups attended the event.

Members of the public were able to learn not only about what was happening in the countryside around them but also how it all related to the global issues of the day, such as climate change.

Among the day's most popular attractions was the Gloucestershire Big Cats stall, which returned for a second year.

Hosted by expert Rick Minter, the stall featured an enlarged photograph of a suspected big cat captured using a tip camera in Nailsworth, which generated a lot of discussion.

Dozens of other visitors also reported big cat sightings of their own, including some strangers who described seeing the same creature in the same area of the Five Valleys over the past two weeks.  

Directors of the festival, Steve Roberts and Richard Keating, said they were both thrilled with this year's event.

"We have a strong core of organisations who have been attending since the very first festival in 2008 and we are extremely grateful to them for their continued support," said Mr Roberts.

"Equally it is wonderful to see some new people attending for the first time this year."