BEER and cider lovers drank in the sunshine as Swindon and Cricklade Railway hosted its annual beer festival.

The scores of drinkers descended on the gardens at the Blunsdon Station, off Tadpole Lane.

On the taps were 15 beers and seven ciders. They ranged for the super-local Hop Kettle Old Town Pale, brewed in a Swindon industrial unit and sold through the taps at Devizes’ Road Eternal Optimist bar, to the familiar Milton brewery’s Sparta.

The hot seller, according to the volunteers behind the bar, was a fruity number from cider specialists Thirsty Farmer. The apple alcohol had been blended with lemons and limes to create – according to the tasting notes – a “wonderfully refreshing and thirst quenching cider”.

Pulling the festival together is Bill Daly. “At first, I started off serving behind the bar, then organising the music, then this year I’ve been organising almost all of it,” he said.

“It takes quite a bit of organising. In the first May bank holiday we put up the marquee.”

Each year, the three-day festival raises hundreds of pounds for the Swindon and Cricklade Railway, a volunteer-led charity running steam trains between Blunsdon and Cricklade.

As well as the beers, the event features music from local bands like the Groove Radicals, Lads, Lads, Lads, and Pulse.

It’s popular with the punters.

Lance Williams, 50, said: “We’ve been coming here from day one. It’s a brilliant festival with good beers and good people.

“Atmosphere is the top thing for me. For a good beer festival you need a friendly atmosphere, good beers and good ciders.

“This festival is the best kept secret there is. There’s beer. There’s cider. There’s music. It’s rocking.”

Jennifer Masters, 64, added: “It’s my first time here. It’s really good. I’ve never been to anything like this before. I didn’t know what to expect. There’s a good range of ages here, young and old.”

Pat Butler, 50, said: “Luckily, we’ve got the good weather. There’s a good selection of beers and we’re helping a good cause to raise some funds. It’s a win, win.”

Patrick Pinnegar, 41, said: “We’ve been coming to this festival for the last seven years. We used to live in Priory Vale and we came down here to drink the beers. We’ve since moved to Bassett, but we still come down.

“The location’s one of the best bits and it’s nice to support the railway.”

The Swindon and Cricklade Railway Beer Festival continues today until 5pm.