LEDBURY Poetry Festival returns to the town next week, for a nine-day celebration of the written word and one of its busiest-ever programmes, with a grand total of 82 events lined up.

In a year that sees the centenary anniversary of the First World War, the festival opens at 3.30pm on Friday, July 4, with a talk about the impact of the conflict.

David Reynolds, the Cambridge Professor of International History, will discuss "The Long Shadow: The Great War and the 20th Century", at Ledbury Baptist Church.

Highlights during the week ahead will include politician Clare Short, with "Desert Island Poems", and big names from the poetry world including Michael Schmidt, Lavinia Greenlaw, Sharon Olds and Glyn Maxwell.

And Ledbury Food Group and the festival have joined forces to celebrate the best of the region’s food, drink, poetry and music. There will be a market on Bye St car park from 11am on Sunday July 13.

A stage will be set up on Orme and Slade car park from noon, for poetry and music.

There will be food and drink for sale including produce from Once Upon A Tree, Carey Organic Cider, Castle Fruit Farm Fruit & Juice, Charles Martell & Sons, Ltd Apple Hanley Swan Bakery Bread, Just Rachel Ice Cream, and Wilce’s Cider, amongst many others.

Bands include Fiddlers Two and Month of Sundays and there will be a special guest appearance from Canadian poet and musician CR Avery.

The Festival's box office number is 0845 458 1743.