Music, mystery and the colour green brought Barnstaple to life on Saturday as the Pilton Green Man Festival returned.

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Barnstaple has been painted green once again as hundreds turn out to celebrate passed Pilton heroes.

The annual Green Man Festival saw huge crowds line the High Street this morning (Saturday), as the colour and thumping drums of the parade made its way to Pilton Street.

In honour of the festival’s passed organisers Noel Harley, Hamish Patrick, Albert Linacre, Laurie Wedge and Dave Butt, the festivities paused for a tribute and round of applause outside Twigs Flowers shop.

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

The ‘Green Man on stilts’ himself said: “It’s a good turnout, big crowds, and a really different festival for my annual calendar because I’ve been part of it for such a long time – it’s become one of the main parts of my career.

“There’s a lot of heart in the festival it’s not just a corporate event, and it’s a nice responsibility to have being such a big part of the day.”

A celebration of nature, fertility and pagan tradition, the family-friendly festival’s roots date back as far as the 14th century.

Scenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon ElleryScenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon Ellery

Having gone from strength-to-strength over the last three decades, this year’s event sees local acts old and new peppered across three stages, along with a host of stalls from arts, crafts, flowers, fundraising groups, alongside street entertainers and a street market.

With the summer in full flow, Kathryn Chesworth and Jo Dunbavin of the Parent-Teacher Association at Pilton Community College were selling strawberries and cream to fundraise for the school, and plenty of Pimms and cider was spotted in the Pilton gardens.

Capturing the ethos of the festival Tess Price, partner of the late Laurie Wedge who pioneered the festival’s organisation and led the parade every year, told the Gazette that he would be proud today, and that “he is still here” through memory.

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

“It’s going to be absolutely brilliant it’s a really lovely day, it’s a wonderful place and a wonderful event and it’s really popular – people come down for the day from all over the place,” she said.

Ms Price, who took part in today’s parade, added: “It’s a lovely crowd, lots of people and people really went to town with dressing for the parade so absolutely brilliant.

“Green Man is special for me is because my partner Laurie used to be the stilt walker at the front of the parade, also it resonated with me because I have a pagan following, that’s what I do – it’s very special.”

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

“He was very pagan orientated, loved his plants, and of all the events he ever did this was his favourite – he put everything into it and absolutely loved it. Laurie and I made the costume that I’m wearing now, so he’s still here.”

Scenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon ElleryScenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon Ellery

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Scenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon ElleryScenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon Ellery

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Scenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon ElleryScenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon Ellery

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Scenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon ElleryScenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon Ellery

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Scenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon ElleryScenes from Pilton Green Man 2018. Picture: Simon Ellery

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville

Thousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan SomervilleThousands enjoyed the Pilton Green Man Festival today. Picture: Ewan Somerville