Festive fun: (l-r) Ryan Wateridge, Georgia Wateridge, Lauren Dixon and Lewis Wateridge pictured in the pumpkin patch

Pumpkins were the pick of the crop as families explored Marsh Farm this October half-term.

The South Woodham Ferrers venue opened its doors to 20,000 visitors during its fourth annual Wizards and Witches Halloween Festival.

For the second year running, its most popular attraction was the pumpkin patch, a three acre field containing thousands of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.

Marsh Farm CEO, James Sinclair, said: “We never expected this amount of visitors, people are coming here collecting pumpkins like they are gold bars.”

Elliott Tubes crouched among the pumpkins with his two children
Pumpkin pickers: Elliott Tubes crouched among the pumpkins with his children, Grace Tubes (left) and Luke Tubes (right)

The pumpkin patch was first introduced to the festival last year, after Marsh Farm imported 10,000 pumpkins from the Warwick based company Pumpkins R Us.

Due to its popularity, the pumpkin patch is now an all-important part of Marsh Farm’s Halloween Festival.

Across the eight day event a total of 15,000 pumpkins were picked, 4,000 of which had been planted and grown on the farm.

Saskia Black, 22, from Blackwater Close in Chelmsford, said: “I’ve never seen so many pumpkins in one place before, my daughter absolutely loved it, we will definitely come back again next year.”

Marsh Farm allowed every child attending its Halloween Festival to pick and take home a free pumpkin.

Stuart Tucker, who worked overseeing the pumpkin patch, said: “I think it’s a great idea, we seem to be one of the few places that do it in Essex.”

The 23-year-old from School Avenue, Laindon added: “We’ve received lots of good reviews on Facebook and other social media sites, and it’s amazing knowing I’ve played a part in that.”

Marsh Farm also had a designated pumpkin carving area where youngsters could create their own jack-o’- lanterns.

Other activities on the farm included; Wizards’ Spell School, Monster Magic Show, Creepy Crafts and the five acre Maize Maze which launched this year.

The planning for next year’s Halloween Festival is already well underway.

Mr Sinclair revealed: “Next year we are going to implement a pumpkin growing competition, and possibly give away a cash prize to whoever grows the biggest pumpkin.”

If you took any photos at this year’s Halloween Festival you can share them on Marsh Farm’s Facebook and Twitter page.