This year's Heritage Open Days will extend to span across an 11-day festival with the theme of Women in Power.

In previous years the annual event has taken place over a four-day weekend.

But Oswestry Town Museum volunteer Mark Hignett has decided to celebrate the town's heritage over 11 days in September.

And what a jam-packed 11 days it will be, as Mark and his team at the museum have been working on the plans since before Christmas.

The festival will see art and poetry competitions, dance shows, fashion shows, astronomy talks, solar talks - and, says Mark, that's just the start.

The theme of this years festival will also be incorporated throughout the 11 days.

Heritage Open Days across the country will be searching for five or six women who have made a difference to the area – but Mark has decided to go bigger and is now on the search for 101 women influential to Oswestry, and has called it The Dalmatian project.

"The theme is all about promoting women," said Mark.

"Women have always been there, but the perception of women in history is that they have not been valued.

"Oswestry has always been guided by women, and it's time we started celebrating them."

The Dalmatian Project will see people nominate women – past or present – who have made a difference to Oswestry. They don't have to live or have been born in the town, just someone who has been influential.

The nominations have been coming in thick and fast, with 20 names already being put forward.

The 101 women will promoted on boards at different venues around Oswestry throughout the festival.

Another exciting addition to the Heritage Open Days will be the Sword in the Stone.

"It is reputed that Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur, was born in Oswestry," continued Mark.

"To honour that, on the first weekend we will have a piece of granite with a sword stuck in it – whoever is strong enough to pull the sword from the stone will be named King or Queen of Oswestry for the week."

There will also been a medieval market selling products of the time, as well as a play, a flashmob and not forgetting the new Heritage Open Days mascot -–a proton, to remind people to 'be positive'.

The festival will also include all of the old favourites from previous Heritage Open Days events - including visits to Llanfyllin Workhouse and the Llanymynech Limeworks.

"We would not be able to do this without Oswestry Town Council and the mayor, Cllr Vince Hunt, and Corrie Davies and the rest of the Shropshire Enablement Team," Mark added.

"The council provide us with space for the museum and without them none of this would be possible.