THE magical world of one of Britain's favourite children's authors has been recreated inside a Grade 1 listed church at Steeple Ashton.

Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Squirrel Nutkin, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton Tail, the dormouse and Jeremy Fisher are all there.

But the stars of the show are undoubtedly the life-size figures of Mr and Mrs McGregor in front of their cottage.

They overlook their garden in the Lady Chapel of St Mary's Church and will be on display for on Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, for the Steeple Ashton harvest festival.

Petra Brown, who organised the making of the characters from Beatrix Potter's timeless tales, said the aim is to draw more people into the church.

"This display has involved a massive effort by the whole village. We want to reach out to the wider community beyond regular churchgoers."

The figures have been made by churchwarden Michael Moore, Kay King and Petra Brown, maker of Mr McGregor.

Mr Moore, 56, built Mr McGregor's garden incorporating the church chapel door with a thatched roof and mock window with fencing to the side.

The characters have all been made by villagers and members of the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers who are based in Steeple Ashton.

The church has been transformed into a setting for the characters and figures, with the area around the altar providing a backdrop for Peter Rabbit, with knitted carrots and real harvest produce.

It proceeds down the aisle, flanked by terracotta planters and their floral displays.

The area around the church font features a village pond with fishing in process, while the vestry has been turned into a tearoom serving tea, coffee and cakes.

The Wiltshire Guild members have made knitted and felted flowers, as well as several of the main characters including rabbits and fox.

The local produce supplied by residents for the display will be auctioned off after Sunday's harvest festival evensong service by villager Bob Quarterly, a retired professional auctioneer.

There will also be a raffle for a Beatrix Potter cake and a children's competition designed to test their knowledge of Potter's fairytale world.

The harvest festival display will run from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday. Admission is free but donations will be welcome.

All proceeds will be shared between the Melksham Food Bank and Alabare Christian Care, a charity working to prevent homelessness.