About Us

VenFest is the new name for the Dorset Food and Venison Festival which arose from the Lottery funded Beacon Project,

a three year community development programme in Lytchett Minster and Upton.


One strand of the project was the introduction of Community Markets,

and over the life of the project we ran a number of small events in the town.


With the end of the Project in August 2014 we reviewed our experience and decided:

  1. that we should continue to try to enrich local life with ongoing markets;
  2. second, that we should be more focussed;
  3. third, that we should continue with a local theme,
  4. and finally that we should try to ensure that there was some broader educational and cultural value added.


When we began to look at possible local themes we discovered that there is a local issue in the

management of deer and that this of interest to the Wild Dorset programme.


As they put it: 

"Ongoing management/reduction of the density of sika deer, whose unnaturally high populations in Purbeck are known to damage the salt marsh, mire and woodland habitats (NE SSSI condition assessments) as well as being detrimental to farming interests has created enough ‘grazing headroom’ to finally contemplate a significant increase in extensive stock grazing'.


Since 'management' implies venison production, we settled on 'venison' as our main (not exclusive) theme.

So it’s local, it raises questions about ecology, healthy eating (venison is very low in fat) and it tastes good!