A popular Dorset sunflower trail has returned for the summer.

The Maiden Castle Farm Sunflower Trail is in full bloom and is inviting visitors to venture through two trails of beautiful sunflowers with plenty of photo opportunities along the way.

Hazel Hoskin, organiser of the trail, said: “It’s a nice family day out and the kids are learning in a nice, relaxed way.”

Half of the proceeds made from the sunflower trail will go to Dorset County Hospital’s Special Care Baby unit, which is a cause close to Hazel’s heart as both of her sons were cared for by them.

She said: “The first year that the sunflower trail opened marked the 18th birthday of my eldest son, he was born at just 26 weeks.

“We were in the hospital for two and a half months.”

Her younger son, who is celebrating his 18th birthday this year, was born eight weeks early.

She added: “If it wasn’t for the Special Care Baby Unit they wouldn’t be here.”

Hazel explained that her sons were ‘happy’ and ‘smiley’ and that ‘it’s the only thing you could ever wish for as a parent.

So far, Hazel has raised an incredible £37,000 for charitable causes as the first year the trail was open the SCBU was the cause she chose to donate to and last year the beneficiaries were the Kingfisher Ward at DCH and Ukraine.

There are two trails that visitors can choose to venture down, a shorter one that follows the shape of the word ‘bee,’ or a much larger one that has been shaped into an outline of a bee which can be seen when looking at the field from above.

There is also a viewing platform where visitors can look at the field from above and take in the breathtaking view of hundreds of thousands of spectacular sunflowers.

Hazel explained that the reason they have gone with a bee theme is because the farm has teamed up with Agri-Epi which is working together with pollinator conservationists Pollenize to track and improve biodiversity at their network of satellite farms throughout the UK.

Two research beehive sites have been installed on the farmland to collect important data on honeybee behaviour.

They are collecting information such as where the bees source their pollen as well as using AI to understand the waggle dance which is an extraordinary communication behaviour used by honey bees to share information about the direction and distance of valuable resources such as food or new hive locations.

The farm also serves some delicious sausage rolls made with home grown pork from the farm at their café.

Entry to the trail is £5 and under 5s go free.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/MaidenCastleFarm.