Visitors to Stotfold Mill this weekend will have the chance to see one of the largest steam collections in Europe.

The Working Steam Weekend on Saturday and Sunday will feature the ‘extremely rare’ Saunders Steam Collection and a beer and cider festival among the highlights. The beer tent will be offering local guest ales and ciders, with free live music from the Steve Winkett Organisation on Friday evening and Not Tonight Josephine on Saturday night.

Pam Manfield, volunteer coordinator at Stotfold Watermill, said: “The show gives visitors a unique opportunity to see these amazing pieces of farm equipment in working action and, especially, for children to find out more about our rural heritage.

“This steam machinery changed the face of rural life. Where labourers spent days threshing corn to provide grain for milling, the steam threshers could do the same work in hours.

“Ploughing by man and horse could be hard, and laborious work became much easier with steam ploughs and later tractors. These and many other machines, including saw milling and cider pressing, will be on view and working during the weekend.”

There will be a 40-bird clay pigeon shoot from 10am to 4pm in Mill Lane on Sunday and stalls providing food, craft items and games throughout the weekend.

Opening hours are 10.30am to 5pm on both days with tickets priced at £4, £2 for senior citizens and children aged four to 16 and free for under fours.

The beer and cider festival is open from 6.30pm to midnight on Friday, 10.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday and 10.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

The nature reserve will not be open during the weekend.