Events Archive

Archive of Past Events at Aardvark Books & Café! Read on to see what we've been doing; events are listed most recent first


h.Art Week at Aardvark Books was a triple show this year, and for two weeks!

This year's Herefordshire Art Week exhibition was an explosion of creativity in painting, drawing, photography, stone, wood, paper, jewellery, books and prints! Diverse 2D and 3D work from many accomplished artists adorned our Aardvark warehouse space. 

Bloodlines and Borderlines: Jane Keay, Martha Fosberry, Reuben Fosberry, Adrian Shiel and Terence Lambert

Photographs below show: Terence Lambert, paintings; Reuben Cain, photographs; Melissa Hunt Jewellery, Adrian Shiel sculptures and Jane Keay painting.


Terence Lambert Paintings

Reuben Cain Photographs


MKB Editions: Three Decades of Prints and Artist Books

Melissa Hunt Jewellery AND Terry Browne Chairs

Monday 29th August, 9am-3pm: Aardvark Vide-Grenier, Attic Sale with live music!

Lots of stalls of vintage, bric-a-brac and interesting items; Ludlow's own "Vintage Jazz Revival" returned to play their special blend of Creole swing, a bar, French breakfasts, soup and café refreshments, and children's crafts with Annie Thompson outside in a tent! Free entry, free parking, all welcome!

We're still taking bookings for the last few spaces in the tent at our Vide-Grenier (which means "empty your attic") - if you are having a clear-out and would like a stall, just give us a call on 01547 530744. Our rates are: £9 to book a 6-foot space, plus £3 if you need to hire a table from us, ie £12 in total, or if you bring your own table it's £9! But hurry - spaces are filling up fast!

Also,On Saturday 27th August our neighbour Steve Alford will be holding a plant and jewellery Sale at the Pink House, Brampton Bryan in memory of his wife Jill who died in a car accident on Good Friday this year. Her collection of Bonsai, mature Acers, plants and lots of jewellery will be on sale. Jill is much missed by all at Aardvark Books.

All proceeds from this event go to the Midlands and Wales Air Ambulance Services, who saved Steve's life at Easter.

Saturday -Sunday 20th-21st August: Aardvark History Weekend - Castles and Battles in the Marches!

ON Saturday 20th August, 11am we enjoyed hearing author Terry Wardle who hails from Worcester, talking about his book "England's First Castle" - an historical quest to discover the site of the first pre-Conquest castle in England. There were also updates on the Mortimer's Cross Battlefield project, and at 2pm Adrian Durkin from Dudley Museum gave an amusing illustrated talk on "Medieval Arms and Armour".

On Sunday 21st we also had talks on Medieval Arms and Armour at 11am, and Renaissance Arms and Armour at 2pm.

To book places for the talks, please call the bookshop 01547 530744 or email us.

Martin Hackett, author of Lost Battlefields of Britain, and Civil War and wargaming expert, brought his battlefield models, and was available all weekend to demonstrate his scale models of local battles; there were traditional children's games and competitions, period music and exhibits. 

6th - 14th August:  "Take 5" Art Exhibition - Rob Fountain, Brian Lammas, Mark Webster, Jeff Orgee and Basil Titford

Rob Fountain and fellow artists set up

This was a wonderful show of ceramics, painting, drawing and prints. Later in the month, from 27th August it'll be going to Bleddfa in a different re-incarnation. For more details, read Mr Aardvark's latest blog number 205:  (

Take Five Jazz opening at Aardvark Sat 6th Aug 2016

The opening had a cool vibe with live music by the artists Brian Lammas and Mark Webster...

Below Left to Right: "Harvest Moon", and " Fly Me to The Moon", paintings by Brian Lammas

Harvest Moon

Fly Me To The Moon

Our latest exhibition,"Take Five", which is on until Sunday 14th August is a group exhibition of five artists and sculptors curated by ceramicist Rob Fountain, exploring the relationship between musical inspiration and the visual arts. Rob's own sculptures join the work of fellow ceramicist Basil Titford alongside pieces by Brian Lammas, Mark Webster and Jeff Orgee, who are all printmakers and painters. All Take Five exhibitors share a deep interest in the kinship between music and their art, and so the launch of this exhibition on Saturday 6th August was accompanied by a live lunch-time jazz performance, courtesy of Brian Lammas and Mark Webster.

Saturday 2nd - Sunday 17th July: "Marking Time": Paintings, drawings, woodcuts and paper form - by Peter Clare, Kate Morgan-Clare, and Tina Clare. Exhibition in support of the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal.

This exhibition by three artists in the same family included work in contrasting media and aimed to raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees, as well as reflecting on the impact of conflict on people and culture. Donations to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal totalled over £300.

Work pictured below: 2 works in paper form by Kate Morgan-Clare whose work explores the impact of human displacement, "Apples" - painting by Peter Clare, "Fives" - one of the "Children's Games" series of woodcuts by Peter Clare, and "Deir-ez-Zor", one of a series of paintings of "The Lost Lanterns of Syria" by Tina Clare.

by Kate Morgan-ClareDeir-ez-Zor Lantern by Tina Clare

Apples by Peter ClareFives, woodcut by Peter Clare

Sunday 31st July: Brampton Bryan Scarecrow Sunday,

A fun day out for all the family! Lots of stalls, children's activities, lunches, bar and teas on the cricket field, guided tours of Brampton Bryan Castle. This year's theme was Scarecrows from Around the World!

Saturday 9th July: Mortimer Country Food and Farming Family Day, 10am-4pm at Aardvark Books

NOT the Mortimer Country Food Fair, this year a NEW boutique food and Farm event!Mortimer Country Food Farming Logo

We were delighted that Colin Williams, wildlife writer, columnist and author of "Shadows in the Hay" published by Logaston Press, about landscape, and rural life on his great-grandfather's Herefordshire farm joined us to give an illustrated talk at 11am; also, we had stalls including The Cottage Herbery, Minnie's Homemade Ice Cream, The Flower Garden at Stokesay Court, and Dawn Howe of The Chic Brocante who organised children's baking activities.

Over lunchtime we were thrilled to hear fabulous live music by Vintage Jazz Revival, a new six-piece band hailing from Ludlow with their wonderful Creole Jazz; hot food, a bar and café refreshments all day. The cows were brought by neighbouring farmers Geoff Bevan and Brian Vale, and by kind permission of the Harley Estate, a chance to see some vintage farm machinery.

This was the last Mortimer Country Food event, but our thanks go to all who have helped make it such a success over the years of the Food Fair, from 2009 - 2015!

Cover of Shadows in the Hay, Published by Logaston Press

18th-26th June: "An Actor's Life", a special Aardvark exhibition about the life of Martin Benson, actor, painter, producer, director and film-maker.

Opening: Saturday 18th June, 11am-2pm, complimentary refreshments.

This exhibition of paintings, posters and photographs told the remarkable story of Martin Benson, from his wartime service and escape from the beaches of Dunkirk, and his work organising and starring in entertainments for the troops in the Middle East and Alexandria, to post-war theatrical work, the London stage, and Hollywood, making iconic films such as "The King And I" (1956) with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, "Goldfinger" (1964) with Sean Connery and Honor Blackman in which he played Mr Solo, "Cleopatra" (1963) with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and "The Omen" (1976) with Gregory Peck, Billie Whitelaw and Patrick Troughton. As well as scriptwriting and producing plays, in the 1950s he also began to paint - using his dressing -room as a studio and this is an opportunity to see his portraits of some well-known British actors, artists and musicians, as well as theatrical and film memorabilia.


4th-12th June: Shropshire Boogie-Woogie! - The Aardvark Art Show for Shropshire Hills Art Week

Kazimierz 6 by Helena OrlowskiShropshire Hills Art Week 2016! The exhibition at Venue 1, Aardvark Books, curated by Shannon Donovan and Andrew Eastwood, was a group show featuring painting, sculpture, metalwork, woodturning, photography and ceramics by 12 artists: Thelma Ayre, Nik Burns, Bob Cunning, Kim Davis, Shannon Donovan, Katherine Soutar Caddick, Susie Cawley, Nancy Frost, Tim Harral, Jules McRobbie, Helena Orlowski (whose painting "Kazimierz 6" is pictured above) and Steve Wall with a special show of photographs called "Working Hands", raising funds for the Farriers Foundation.

Pictured, above is "Kazimierz 6" by Helena Orlowski, and

below: "Working Hands" photograph by Steve Wall, Sculpture by Nancy Frost, Painting by Katherine Soutar Caddick, Woodpecker by Tim Harral, Painting by Thelma Ayre, Yew Pot by Kim Davis, Red Striped Box by Shannon Donovan, Painting by Susie Cawley, Hay Warren by Jules McRobbie, Spider Lamp 2 by Nik Burns and Fog in the Upper Clun Valley by Bob Cunning.

Farrier Nancy Frost, work


 Painting - Katherine Soutar Caddick Woodpecker by Tim Harral

Painting by Thelma Ayre Yew Pot by Kim Davis

Red Striped Box by Shannon Donovan

  Painting by Susie Cawley

Hay Warren by Jules McRobbie Spider Lamp 2 by Nik Burns

Fog in the Upper Clun Valley by Bob Cunning

Monday 30th May: Aardvark Bank Holiday Brocante, 9am - 3pm

 Cecile Vaughan and her stall May 2015 Fab French Vintage at Aardvark May 2015



We had over 30 stalls at our May Brocante (or Flea Market), and it was a lively one! With live music from Leominster's own Norrie Davies on her accordion, French breakfast and café refreshments including Dawn Howe's delicious home-made cakes, free entry, free parking - we had a great day!

30th April - 15th May: "The Marches: Maps, Prints, Bindings" - exhibition of antique maps, prints and rare books

This year's Aardvark Map exhibition was the fifth in a series of comprehensive cartographic reviews, bringing together over 100 items relating to the Marches counties - Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire - and Wales.

For the first time we showed an original example of a map by Christopher Saxton, dating from 1579. This is the first map of Shropshire, and it was a rare treat to be able to view an original copy. The story of how Saxton surveyed the counties of England and Wales is one of the most romantic in all of cartography, containing as it does elements of intrigue, personal achievement and military power.

Image below shows the first map of Shropshire by Christopher Saxton, 1579The First Map of Shropshire by Christopher Saxton, 1579

The map section of the exhibition also included numerous examples of maps by John Speed, including the 1611 Sudbury and Humble map of Herefordshire, and also examples of Shropshire, Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire and Breconshire. There were also maps by all the major mapmakers who surveyed the area such as Cary, Janssen, Van Langeren, Van den Keere, Ogilby and Mercator.

(Image below shows "The Continuation of the Road from London to Aberistwith, by Ogilby, 1675)The Continuation of the Road from London to Aberystwyth, by Ogilby, 1675

 The book section of the exhibition consisted of a number of books from the renowned library of Titley Court, including some annotated by a member of the Greenly family. Amongst the books is a beautiful example of 'The Heraldry of Herefordshire' with stunning full colour armorials of the coats of arms of all the leading families of the county. There were also topographical studies of the area including a beautiful set of Roscoe’s wanderings in North and South Wales in an appealing morocco binding. If you are interested in any of the items which did not sell in the exhibition, do get in touch.


Images show:

Bindings: Left: Roscoe's "Wanderings in North and South Wales" ; Right, "Manor Houses of Herefordshire"


There was also another chance to see a copy of the large 1" Greenwood folding map of Shropshire. An example of this rare map was included in opur 2015 exhibition, and by good fortune an even finer copy became available for inclusion this year.
Detail of Greenwood folding Map of ShropshireAltogether the exhibition offered a fascinating insight into the history and development of the Marches area, one of the most historic and beautiful areas of the British Isles, and some said it was our best to date!

(Image shows a detail of the 1827 1" folding map of Shropshire by Greenwood)

25th March - 10th April 2016:"The Garden" Art Exhibition:

 - art and sculpture exhibition, celebrating gardens, plants, wild and domestic animal life

Holly Brookes, Tony Hall, Garry Jones, Lottie O'Leary

Our spring exhibition, "The Garden" featured artists Holly Brookes, (winner of the David Shepherd Young Wildlife Artist of the Year Prize 2015, and recently interviewed on BBC Countryfile during her residency at Nature in Art), ceramic artist Garry Jones, whose animals are sure to raise a smile, sculptor Lottie O'Leary who created such wonderful figures inspired by medieval Irish carvings for our "Paper Wraps Stone" exhibition last year, and Tony Hall whose amazing pots have been known to contain much more than just plants!

Tony Hall's pots, Indian hangings, tree


Pulse by Holly Brookes

Garry Jones ceramic flowers, chickens

Broody Together, Lottie O'Leary

Saturday 26th March, 10am-4pm

Aardvark Easter Event

It so happens that this is the RHS year of the English Garden! We were joined by Kim Hurst of The Cottage Herbery with their wonderful herbs and perennials, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. "Two Things with Strings"  also played violin and guitar for us from 11am -2pm, featuring a young student violinist as well!

The children's crafts went very well, with Annie Thompson, who takes her inspiration from our local woodlands and wildlife, guiding young makers to create joyful things - birds in nests - from natural materials.We welcomed Sarah Rogers back by popular request, with her delicious handmade chocolates, and also Claire Prescott kindly brought her herbal products "From The Garden". With homemade sweet potato soup and Dawn Howe's delicious cakes in the Café, and the art exhibition to browse, it looked as though our visitors had a good day.

The morning was somewhat marred by the terrible news that Jill Alford, of Brampton Bryan, and her mother-in-law, had died in a car accident on Good Friday. They will be missed.

Sunday 14th February: Aardvark Valentine's Market!Valentine's Eclair in Aardvark Café

This year Valentine’s Day fell on Sunday 14th February itself, and Aardvark Books, for the first time ever, changed the day of its celebration to Sunday, so everyone could celebrate the Saint of love and friendship on the day itself.

Guitarist Gareth Rees-Roberts returned to play his remarkable Spanish guitar, handmade for him some years ago in the workshops surrounding Granada’s Alhambra Palace. This year his programme was a mixture of music from Brazil, Argentina and Spain, with a special emphasis on Latin rhythms and melodies.

In Aardvark’s Valentine's market the stalls all sold items that would make a perfect present for a loved one. Sarah Rogers, a local boutique chocolatier offered samples of her unique chocolate creations. In addition we had jewellers, craftspeople and artist Bronte Woodruff

For children there were free craft activities in the Bookburrow with Annie Thompson, where children created a beautiful Valentines frieze.

In the Café, famed for its dark chocolate and ginger tiffin, Dawn Howe from the Chic Brocante made an amazing Valentine’s chocolate fudge cake as well as adorable cupcakes.

December 2015: We have a shop full of books!

Aardvark Christmas Tree 2015

Books Are My Bag Logo

Particularly art, architecture, design and fashion books following Mr Aardvark's latest flying visit to London, and also children's books for Christmas! The new books just in are half the published price too!

So here are some photos of Books, below!


Sunday 6th December: Aardvark Christmas Fair 10am-3pm

Aardvark Christmas Fair Poster 2015 Dutch Lewis plays sax and sings

Lots of stalls of antiques, crafts, Christmas gifts and vintique! Lots of poeple came and we hope they found original or unusual presents for loved ones for Christmas. Also, Live music with the Dutch Lewis Trio playing their Christmas songbook which was jut great, and Christmassy delights in the Café - homemade lentil tomato and spinach soup, Dawn's wonderful Christmas slices and mince pies - as well complimentary glasses of mulled wine, as is traditional. Fortunately the stormy weather abated for the day itself!

Saturday 21st November: Aardvark Winter Event 10am-5pm

Our Winter pre-Advent extravaganza, this year with live jazz from the Trevor Davies Trio, we had a warming homemade winter soup in the Café - spicy sweet potato and carrot, and Christmas Crafts for children in the BookBurrow with Annie Thompson; and lots of one-day special offers in the Bookery for your Christmas shopping!

Sunday 25th October: Autumn Brocante / Flea Market 10am-3pm! 

French vintage at Aardvark Aug2015

Our October Brocante is fully booked up now (as of 5th October) and promises to offer a great range of fabulous vintage and bric-a-brac stalls with a good French flavour. Come along and buy early so you don't miss the bargains! We'll have French-style accordion music live! from Norrie Davies, and you can enjoy French breakfast, and Homemade soup for lunch in the Aardvark Café, along with our wonderful selection of tea, coffee and cake - to keep out the Autumnal breezes! Free entry, free parking, all are welcome.

17th -18th October 2015Bookery Front Room October 2015

Mr & Mrs Aardvark's annual flying visit to the Frankfurt International Book Fair  to bring back lots of new books was very successful and the new stock should arrive in a week or two!

We are very sorry to have missed the FIRST Poetry Festival in Presteigne, organised by Lynden and Gareth Rees-Roberts, featuring Gillian Clarke and many other well-known and respected poets. By all accounts it was a great success! Here's to the second poetry fest!

1st - 4th October: Arcadia Music Festival

We have been delighted to support Arcadia Music from the beginning, and this year's music was beautiful. Thank you to Tom bowes and eleanor Alberga for another Arcadia triumph!

The Arcadia Programme:

Thursday 1st Oct: Free "taster" concert at the Sun Inn, Leintwardine, 7.30pm

Friday 2nd October, 3pm: Film Screening: "A Late Quartet", Leintwardine  Community Centre; and at 7.30pm: Concert, St Mary Magdalene, Leintwardine, Dvorak, Alberga, Beethoven Op 131

Saturday 3rd Oct: Poetry Reading: Pele Cox at Aardvark Books:

Pele Cox, "The Mistress Account" - as previously performed at the Cheltenham International Literary Festival and featured in the Sunday Times Magazine- plus interview and discussion. Tea and cake available from Aardvark Café afterwards. Tickets £4 on the door only.

Saturday 3rd October, 7.30pm: Concert , St Michael and All Angels Church Kingsland; Dohnanyi, Brahms, Spohr.

Sunday 4th October, 4pm:  Concert, St Giles' Church, Downton on the Rock; Barber, Janacek, Beethoven Septet Op 20.

Herefordshire Art Week, 12th - 27th September:

Aardvark was Venue 41 this year and we had a truly mixed show! "Volume, Contrast , Brilliance" AND "Beyond Type"

 View of Aardvark h.Art Show 2015

Volume, Contrast, Brilliance:

A mixed show including art, textiles and 3D sculpture, with painting by Ciara Lewis and Jane Wells and porcelain sculpture by Lucy Baxendale, contrasting with textile art by Sarah Cage, Adam Watson, Su Pascoe and Bobby Britnell; also woodwork by Barney Britnell;

Pictured above: Plynlimon by Ciara Lewis, mixed media on paper

below : Grey Silk Shawl by Adam Watson; Porcelain Forest Creatures by Lucy Baxendale

Forest Creatures Porcelain sculpture by Lucy Baxendale  Grey Silk Shawl by Adam Watson


Our show this year also incorporates

"Beyond Type: New Letter Forms for a New Century":

a showcase for calligraphy and letter-carving, curated by by Will O'Leary, with work by Tom Perkins, Gary Breeze and John Neilson, and Will O'Leary.

11th-13th September: Ludlow Food Festival

Aardvark Books was at Ludlow Food Festival again this year, with John Challis! Our stand was in the Inner Bailey, next to the Wot's Cooking Stage. We were delighted to be working with Katie Johnson of Wot's Cooking, providing the books for three of this year's Ludlow Festival chefs: Firstly, Howard Middleton  "Delicious Gluten-Free Baking"; Howard was a contestant in Series Four of the Great British Bake-Off and is a specialist in gluten-free, wheat-free and often dairy-free baking. Secondly, Luis Troyano, finalist in Series Five of the Great British Bake-Off and his book "Bake It Great".Lastly, for all vegans out there, Lee Watson, has just published a Vegan cookery book: "Peace and Parsnips". We have a few copies in the shop, some of them signed!

31st August, Bank Holiday Monday - Aardvark Vide-Grenier, 9am-3pm

Live Music from the Poobahs at Aardvark Books Vide Grenier Sale!

Aardvark’s popular annual French-inspired flea market has a new look, with this year’s live music being provided by Dave Luke’s new band the Poobahs. Consisting of Dave on Guitar and Vocals, John Hymas on Violin, Clovis Phillips on Accordion , and George Jackson on Drums, they bring a real toe-tapping feel-good vibe to everything they play. We have tried to bring a little of hte spirit of France in summer to our corner of rural Engalnd and Wales, and as Sheridan says: "The best French 'Vide-Greniers' always have some live music from an oompah band, a stall selling delicious and fattening food and a bar selling wine. All these elements we have tried to replicate, as nothing helps the search for a bargain like listening to cheerful music, and enjoying a glass or two of one’s favourite tipple!"

What's more, we have combined this year's activities with a book-signing by David Evans of his new book "Dawdling in the Dale", a photographic history of rural life in the Corvedale.Dawdling in the Dale by David Evans, poster

1st-16th August: "Crossing The Border", Art Exhibition

Private View Saturday 1st August, 4.00pm - 8.30pm, featuring the music of Kristina Norton and Jennifer Doolan on the Celtic Lever Harp. Refreshments were much enjoyed by all and it was a great evening! Thank you to the artists, and to all who came!

Abstraction Skeltons Bank, by Andrew FarmerAutumnal Shropshire by Andrew Farmer

Kiss Kelp by Andrew FarmerRock Art by Andrew Farmer

A series of paintings and photographs of journeys along the Welsh Border and across into Wales, to the coast of Pembrokeshire and the Lleyn peninsula, by artists Robert Cunning, Michelle Anderson, Russell Morris and photographer Andrew Farmer - the four photographs above show (L to R): Abstraction Skeltons Bank, Autumnal Shropshire, Kiss Kelp and Rock Art, by Andrew Farmer. The exhibition continues 2nd-16th August during bookshop hours.

Sunday 2nd August: Brampton Bryan Scarecrow Sunday 2015:

Scarecrows On the Move: The village was invaded by scarecrows, there were tours of Brampton Bryan Castle, and much fun was had, all raising money for Brampton Bryan Church. This year's total has surpassed expectations, at about £6,900, making it possible for the church to continue and put a little towards its Capital works (it is a Grade 1 listed building). Fantastic, we were delighted to be able to support such a successful fundraising effort.

15th-16th August: English Civil War Society Re-enactment of the Civil War Siege of Brampton Bryan

 - A battle with cannon, musket firing, pike actions AND cavalry! Yes, in 2015 there will be horses! We will also have a working reproduction printing press, as well as the living history village, stalls, activities for children including models and wargaming, and lots of 17th century fun!

Saturday 11th July 2015: the 8th Annual Mortimer Country Food Fair

All welcome: Ticket £4 adults, Under-16s Free!

Edward Harley, High Sheriff of Herefordshire, opened our Food Fair this year, whose theme was "Slow Living in the Marches". we were also delighted to have Andy Link, Head Chef at the Riverside Inn, Aymestrey, cooking venison in asscoaition with Ludlow Marches slow Food's "Forgotten Food" project; Temeside Smokery talking about how they started their business and offering tasty samples, Dawn Howe of the Chic Brocante baking gluten-free florentines, and live music from the Trevor Davies Allstars.  The weather was kind to us, we had a lovely day with exhibitors old and new, and thank you to all the visitors who came and helped to make it a truly country food festival.

Saturday 27th June - Sunday 12th July - Fire and Ice: Iceland Seen and Unseen

Aurora by Diana Nuttall

An artistic exploration of the extraordinary landscape of Iceland, itrs wildlife, its volcaninc activity, its warma nd intrepid people, though the media of painting and sculpture by Diana Nuttall, Shannon Donovan and Andrew Eastwood. These three artists visited Iceland earlier in the year, and the work was an expression of their experience and what they found there. Anyone with a link to Iceland will find this a fascinating perspective on that intriguing country.

Saturday 30th May - Sunday 14th June: FROM CLEE TO HEAVEN: Shropshire Hills Art Week 2015

This year's SHAW exhibition at Aardark was twice the size of last year's event, and was open for twice as long! Our show included a fantastic selection of painting, sculpture, photography, pottery, craft and jewellery. 15 professional artists exhibited in a show expertly curated by Shannon Donovan and Andrew Eastwood. The opening was the best-attended art show opening we have ever had, so many thanks and congratulations are due to Shannon, Andrew and all the artists who helped make it such a success.

Artists and crafts people including Leila Anderson, Terry Browne, Shannon DonCeramic by Andrew Eastwoodovan, Andrew Eastwood, Jane Farrington, Tim Harral, Jessica Jackson, Jane Keay, Phil Lane, Debby Marsh, Diana Nuttall, Lottie O'Leary, Laura Rowlatt, Adrian Shiel and Mary Simpson.



We had lots of stalls, live music from Norrie Davies 11am-2pm, dawn's delicious cakes and homemade tomato and lentil soup, and good weather! Our next flea market event is August 31st, Bank Holiday Monday with live music from Little Rumba; we're taking bookings for stalls now!

SPECIAL EVENT, 11am Saturday 16th May -The MAPPA MUNDI in Art

Mappa Mundi lecture by Dominic Harbour, Marketing Director at Hereford Cathedral, with exclusive preview of work by Stephen Cox RA, inspired by the medieval map.

This was a unique opportunity to hear this special lecture, here given for the first time, by Dominic Harbour. Hereford Cathedral’s Marketing Director has a long association with Hereford’s Mappa Mundi and his talk explored how different artists, writers and illustrators have been inspired by this famous map.The talk was accompanied by an exclusive temporary exhibition of drawings and sculpture by Stephen Cox RA, inspired by the Mappa Mundi, some of which had not been shown before. Images below show L to R: detail from the Mappa Mundi - Unicorn and Rhino; "Mappa Mundi" By Grayson Perry; and below: Clee Hill as seenf rom Mappa Mundi, by Stephen Cox

 Unicorn and Rhino, Mappa Mundi  Mappa Mundi, Grayson Perry

Clee Hill by Stephen Cox RA


Saturday 2nd- Sunday 17th May: THE PAST IS OURSELVES: Masterpiece Maps from Wales & the Marches    

The 4th Aardvark Selling Exhibition of Antique Maps, is open from 11am, Saturday 2nd May until 4pm, Sunday 17th May, 2015. Free entry, all welcome!Johannes Blaeu Map of Wales 1645

Aardvark's fourth annual giant map exhibition was the biggest ever, with some maps that had not been exhibited for decades! The first two weeks of May witnessed a further Aardvark foray into the world of antique maps. This year's exhibition was called: 'The Past is Ourselves: Masterpiece Maps from the Marches (and a few interlopers). 

Included in the exhibition was the very rare 1817 Henry Price 1" map of Herefordshire (shown with the gazetteer of which there is only one recorded copy)

Over 150 fantastic maps of Wales and the Marches counties were on show, all for sale.

This year featured two different rare editions of the Humphrey Llwyd map of Wales, many small maps (by  Perrot, Van Langeren and others), maps by John Speed, Blaeu (including the 1645 map of Wales shown right), Janssen, Cary, Blome, Kitchen  and Bowen; large railway maps; Greenwood maps from elephant folios; antique prints, togopgraphical books and more - many beautiful rare maps from as little as £25!

4th - 19th April 2015

PAPER WRAPS STONE:  Exhibition of Annamult Press Prints and the Stone Carvings of Lottie O'Leary 

This unique exhibition, showcased the now rare handmade silk-screen prints by Michael and Innis Ellis-Jones of Annamult Press celebrating Ireland's medieval architectural heritage, which were created in the South of Ireland in the 1970's, and were widely exhibited in Ireland and at Heal's Gallery in London. Maeve Binchy became a strong supporter of their work and reviewed it in the Irish Times. These prints were shown with selected new stone carvings by Lottie O'Leary, inspired by the prints and by the sculpture of Welsh churches, and the Herefordshire School carvings at Kilpeck.

Images below show: Annamult Prints of : Couple, Athassel Priory, Silk-screen print of stone-rubbing(left) and Entombment, Ennis Friary, Silk-screen print of photograph (right).

Annamult Silk Screeen Print of Irish Medieval Stone Carving

Kilpeck Figure by Lottie O'Leary Angel in the making by Lottie O'LearyL: Kilpeck Figure; R:Angel in the making,

by Lottie O'Leary, stone-carver, Knucklas, Powys.

Easter Saturday, April 4th, 10am - 4pm: SPECIAL Garden Event with Dr. Noel Kingsbury, Kim Hurst of the Cottage Herbery, and Claire Austin of Claire Austin Hardy Plants.

Hidden Histories, Trees by Noel Kingsbury - coverHidden Histories, Herbs by Kim Hurst - CoverClaire Austin's Book of Perennials - front cover

We were delighted to welcome Dr. Noel Kingsbury -internationally known writer, researcher into ecological garden design and landscape, who has been described as "the foremost British garden writer of the moment" - and Kim Hurst, RHS judge and founder of the Chelsea Gold Award-winning Cottage Herbery, talking about and signing their new books in the Timber Press "Hidden Natural Histories" Series: "Herbs" and "Trees" respectively. ALSO Claire Austin, expert in irises, peonies and perennials, who talked to a packed audience about her book: "Claire Austin's Book of Perennials" and brought some of the plants from her nursery to sell.

11am        Kim Hurst, RHS Judge, of the Chelsea Gold Award-winning Cottage Herbery

12noon    Claire Austin, of Claire Austin Hardy Plants

2pm:        Dr Noel Kingsbury, of Montpelier Cottage, nr Hay-on-Wye

We had lots of lovely plants for sale, herbs, annuals and perennials specially grown by the Cottage Herbery, also Tony Hall, Potter from Knucklas threw his amazing pots too! In the bookshop we had live music, from "Two Things with Strings" - Helen Wilding and Richard Revert, and free Easter craft activities in the BookBurrow for children with Annie Thompson.

Good Friday, April 3rd 2015: Bench dedication and Gathering to remember Edward Tobin, founder and Director of Aardvark Books. We marked the one-year anniversary since Edward died with a wonderful crowd of family and friends, and raised a glass to Edward, as we dedicated the two picnic benches outside the bookshop to him.

Sunday 8th March: A Walk in Brampton Bryan Park with Professor Charles Watkins, - Walk and Tea FULLY BOOKED!

We are delighted to have Charles Watkins, author of "Trees, Woods and Forests" to lead this Walk and Tree Observation in Brampton Bryan Park, by kind permission of Edward Harley. Professor Watkins is an authority on landscape at Nottingham University's School of Geography and was keynote speaker at our History Study Day on the Picturesque Movement in Herefordshire in August 2014.

His most recent book is a cultural and sociological study of trees and woodlands and his commentary on the historic trees in Brampton Bryan Park will be well worth hearing. Following the walk he will be pleased to sign copies of his book, during the tea at Aardvark Café. Tickets, which include tea and cake, are £5 per person. NOW FULLY BOOKED!

Meet for the Walk at Aardvark Books at 2pm, Sunday 8th March, where there is ample car parking. The walk will take a couple of hours: tea, cake and book signing afterwards in the Bookery Café will start at 4pm on our return from the walk. Wet weather gear to be brought if needed. Bookings in advance only FOR THE WALK- we won't be able to take people who just turn up on the day; however, if you wish to meet Charles Watkins, come to the bookshop before 2pm.

Valentine's Event, Saturday 14th February 10am-4pm

  Sue Gilmour's Salted Lemon Dk Choc Bar

Valentine's Day had a Latin twist when Gareth Rees-Roberts, musician from Combe near Presteigne, played guitar music by Atahuelpa Yupanqui, world-famous Argentine folk guitarist and songwriter, at Aardvark Books' Valentine's Event from 11am until 2pm. There were free craft activities for children in the BookBurrow with artist Kate Morgan-Clare, where children made their own Valentine's cards and gifts. We were delighted to have Bromyard-based Sue Gilmour's wonderful chocolate bars wrapped in vintage botanical wrappers (see above) for sale on the day as well. With a plethora of vintage gifts and antiques by Zani Lady of Presteigne, and Valentine's refreshments in the Aardvark Café, including homemade pink roasted beetroot soup and Catherine's special chocolate Valentine's eclairs, Valentine's day at Aardvark was indeed a celebration of love, friendship, music and special treats!.

Happy 2015 to all our customers from Aardvark Books!

The AARDVARK BOOKS JANUARY SALE! Saturday 17th - Saturday 31st January 2015

The Aardvark Books January Sale had lots of bargains in our "sale tent" and 10% off all book purchases in the shop. Only on for two weeks, a proper old-fashioned January sale! Below left is the sale poster on our front door, (you can see the raindrops on it if you look carefully); plenty of books await you upstairs - and throughout the bookshop! - as you can see on the right, all year round...

Sale Poster from Aardvark Front DoorBooks Upstairs in the Aardvark Bookery Jan 2015

Sunday 7th December: Aardvark Christmas Fair 10am-3pm: 25 Stalls, Dutch Lewis Jazz, Singers, Free entry & parking, Bookshop and Café open 10am-4pm.



The traditional start to Christmas: 1000's of present ideas, local crafts, art, jewellery and original vintique for that unusual Christmas gift. Lights and decorations were festooning the bookshop. Live music was provided by  Dutch Lewis, Dane Kranenbourg and Steve the guitarist, playing tunes from Dutch's Christmas songbook, and Helen Wilding brought some young singers with music of a Christmas variety too. We were also coleecting for the Medecins Sans Frontieres Ebola Crisis appeal this year.

Saturday 22nd November 2014: Aardvark Winter Event 10am-5pm

Live music from Dave Luke and John Hymas - guitar/violin duo; "Watching Brief" -poetry readings by Mike Catling, (Vicar of the Parish of Wigmore Abbey) provided a contrasting mix of upbeat American folk-style music and reflective poems; Children made Christmas cards and paper at the Winter Craft workshop with Annie Thompson in the BookBurrow; Robin Hill of RH Wines offered a free mini wine-tasting; Homemade roast carrot & fennel soup, and Catherine's delicious winter cakes were enjoyed int he Café!

On the same morning (Nov 22nd) it's the Brampton Bryan WI Christmas pudding stir-up! Visit the ladies in Brampton Bryan Village Hall for your Christmas pudding mix, and then come along to us!!

Sunday 26th October, 10am-3pm: Aardvark October Brocante & Flea Market

 Aardvark Brocante stallsAardvark Brocantes are known for having lots of stalls of antiques, vintique, bric-a-brac and all sorts! This one was no exception and it was very busy! Peopoe came very early and bagged bargains - and had hot coffee. chocolate, homemade Pumpkin soup, and Catherine's fresh cakes from Aardvark Café too!



Saturday 6th-Sunday 28th September:

h.Art 2014 - "Natural Threads" Textiles; AND "Imagination: Canvas & Steel" Sculpture and Painting

Opening and Private View Saturday 6th September, 11am - 2pm: Herefordshire Art week at Aardvark brings you double delight this year! All welcome, refeshments and good cheer await, as well as TWO Art shows inspired by the natural world! Opening hours as bookshop hours, every day until Sunday 28th September 4pm.

"Natural Threads"

will be a fantastic exhibition of contemporary textiles curated by Ann Paterson, bringing together textile makers and artists from Herefordshire and across the Midlands, with the collaboration of the Midlands Textile Forum. The theme is the natural environment and the textile work on show will reflect the textures and structures of the natural world.


Chris Rider, Pod Vessel;       Clare Cooper Walsh - Variations 3;                              Ann Paterson                               

"Imagination: Canvas & Steel" - Leila Anderson paintings and Tim Harral, metal sculpture

Sea Eagle:view to the Isles by Tim Harral and Leila Anderson    French Flowers by Canal, by Leila Anderson 

is a collaboration between artists Tim Harral and Leila Anderson, and will explore contrasting responses to the built and natural environment, in contrasting media: Tim Harral's metal sculptures and Leila's work in many modes: painting, drawing, repoussé -style work and much more.

Images above are: 1) Sea Eagle: View to the Isles, metal sculpture Tim Harral / painting Leila Anderson; 2) Art Deco Repoussé - style Vase, Leila Anderson; 3) French Flowers by Canal, Leila Anderson; 4) Croft Castle, pen & ink, Leila Anderson

Photo of artists Tim Harral and Leila Anderson

Photo: Tim Harral, Leila Anderson, artists collaborating in our h.Art Week exhibition 2014.

Friday 12th - Sunday 14th September: Ludlow Food Festival

- found us at the Aardvark Books stand in Ludlow Castle, and we were delighted to have John Challis with us too, signing his books! And we were also celebrating 25 years of Mick Inkpen's Kipper - hence this rather lovely photo of them both! (watch your ears, Kipper!)  - and here too are Catherine and Joe staffing our stand at Ludlow, great stuff Aardvarks!

John Challis with Kipper! Ludlow 2014Aardvark stand - Catherine and Joe at Ludlow

Silver gelatin contact print photoSilver Gelatin photograph of Ludlow Castle, circa 1918, one of a collection of photographs taken in Herefordshire, Shropshire and mid-Wales in the years 1917-21 that we exhibited this summer. We still have them available if you are interested in local history!

 7th, 14th, 21st August, 2-4pm: Crafty Thursdays in the BookBurrow 2014

Arty, crafty fun activities for the summer holidays in the BookBurrow, with Annie Thompson. Children of all ages had great fun painting, potato printing, and making a frieze - photo to follow soon!

Saturday 23rd - Monday 25th August - we were with Mary Berry at The Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival, Castle Green Hereford

Mary Berry was delightful and signed her books for over two hours on Saturday 23rd August. She was also interviewed by BBC Midlands Today, which was great, and Becci O'Reilly too, a good thing for Hereford. Other highlights were the Prosecco stall on one side of us,and Love PAtisserie on the other, and Remi Harris playing in the rain for all of MOnday afternoon, keeping our spirits up!

Monday 25th August: Bank Holiday Vide-Grenier 9am-3pm

Aardvark Books' answer to the French "Empty Your Attic" tradition, with lots of stalls, French breakfasts and bacon baps from the Aardvark Café and Bar, live music from the ever-popular Little Rumba and more! Free Entry and Parking;

  Little Rumba Could be AnyWhere but we think they'll be at Aardvark Books on Monday 25th August! We're delighted to welcome them back with their special blend of tango, Eastern European, bluesy rhythms combined with lyric of sardonic wit... and we've heard rumours of a NEW album...come along and hear them, Free!

Saturday 16th/Sunday 17th August 2014: Aardvark Books History Weekend

Sat 16th August: "The Picturesque in Herefordshire", Study Day with Lectures, 11am & 2pm; Exhibitions and demonstrations of archery, battles and armoury

Sepia tint - engraving 1786 This is a sepia-tint image of engraving of "Brompton Brian Castle in Herefordshire" by Lowry, 1786. Image Available on postcards and special Brmapton Bryan Mug for sale in the bookshop!

Saturday 11am: "Richard Payne Knight at Downton", Lecture by Peter Burden, author. Illustrated talk on Richard Payne Knight (1751 - 1824), sometime MP for Leominster, member of the Dilettanti Society, Trustee of the British Museum, gentleman collector and aesthete, and famously accused of arrogance in the controversy over the Elgin Marbles.

2pm: "Uvedale Price of Foxley", Lecture by Professor Charles Watkins author of the recently published: "Uvedale Price: Decoding the Picturesque", who will talk about Price, his work on his estate at Foxley, and his friendships with other key figures in the picturesque movement, including Thomas Andrew and Richard Payne Knight, William Gilpin (author of "Observations on the River Wye" and William Beckford.

Sun 17th August: Demonstrations of longbow archery, arms & armoury; Battlefield History models

Throughout the weekend, battlefield historian Martin Hackett explained his detailed model reconstruction of the siege of Brampton Bryan Castle in 1643, and his theories concerning the most probable site for the ever contentious Battle of Mortimer's Cross. He also brought a display of artefacts from ancient and medieval times through to the Civil War period. His new book: "Lost Battlefields of Wales" has just been published by Amberley Publishing.

On the field outside the bookshop Dudley Museum curator Adrian Durkin demonstrated longbow archery. He also gave illustrated talks for children about the development of arms and armour including handguns, on Sunday.

Adrian and Martin will be back next year with the English Civil War Society for the 2015 Re-enactment of the Siege of Brampton Bryan.

During the weekend there was also an exhibition of early photographs of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Mid-Wales, taken in the years 1917 - 1921, an exhibition by the Deerfold History Project, about the Mortimer family's hunting park between Lingen and Wigmore.

26th July - 10th August 2014: Westhope Guild of Contemporary Designers: "Threads of Thought" Exhibition curated by Wendy Riddick, with demonstrations of weaving, embroidery, and many textile techniques by the artists every day.


       Storm by Julia D Gray: mixed media

Saturday 12th July 2014: Mortimer Country Food Fair 10am-5pm

The Seventh Annual Mortimer Country Food Fair, with BAFTA award-winner Jo Brand and sustainable chef James Strawbridge judging our 2nd Kotlich Outdoor Cooking competition, Easy Peasy Childrens' Cookery,  a wealth of local artisan food producers and much more - it really was a great day out in the country!

Sunday 13th July 2014: Aardvark Summer Brunch, with the Trevor Davies/Remi Harris Trio! 10am-4pm

Champagne bar; great music from 11am, a super family Sunday! It has now been three years that we have had Trevor playing at the bookshop, and we were delighted to wlecome hism with the talented gypsy Jazz guitarist Remi Harris, who with his own trio and his Gypsy Jazz Project has been playing all over the country.

Saturday 28th June - Sunday 13th July: "Carve, Collage, Ink & Print" Exhibition: Artists' Books, Cards and Printmaking.


"Clun Bridge" by Gordon Yapp. Gordon Yapp's prints were among those featured in this wonderfully delicate and interesting exhibition.


With artists Drusilla Cole, Gordon Yapp, Jill Barneby, Francis Carlisle, Sarah Jameson, Mike Clements, Rebecca Finney, Victoria Keeble, and Denise Fordyce.  A great mix of original linocuts, etchings, collagraphs and unique artists' books.

Saturday 31st May - Sunday 8th June: "O! Pioneers" Shropshire Hills Art Week Exhibition


Aardvark was proud to support the first ever Shropshire Hills Art Week, and our inaugural exhibition for this event was entitled "O! pioneers" pace Willa Cather. Ten diverse artists from Shropshire contributed to a really exciting show of paintings, sculpture, photography and jewellery. Artists included Shannon Donovan and Andrew Eastwood (curators), Leila Anderson, Tim Harral, Jessical Jackson, Jane Keay, Phil Lane, Laura Rowlatt and Mary Simpson. We look forward to the second SHAW in 2015!

Monday 26th May: Aardvark Bank Holiday Brocante & Flea Market 9am-3pm

Our ever-popular Brocante events at the bookshop continued with live accordion music from Norrie Davies, refreshments, coffee, and lots of antique, and vintique stalls. We served French croissant breakfasts and lots of lovely cake!

3rd-18th May 2014: Mapping Wales & The Council of The Marches

Our third and biggest map-selling exhibition yet surveyed Wales and the area covered by the Council of the Marches:that is, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Over 150 original antique maps were on show, from 1573-1900, including rare 18th century hand-drawn estate maps.

Humphrey Llwyd Map of Wales 1580s

Aardvark Flea Markets and Brocante events are well-known locally

for their mix of interesting stalls where you can find unique gifts, unusual bric-a-brac, and sometimes antiques, for browsing in the bookshop, and increasingly for Aardvark Café's food and drink - including French breakfast croissants and coffee, croque-monsieurs, bacon baps, and warming soup especially in winter. Mulled wine also features for Christmas events!

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