Heath Week events to celebrate ‘special place for wildlife and people’ spanning 2,700 acres

A week of events will celebrate the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths from Sunday, July 28 – Saturday, August 3.

The festivities will toast the 2,700 acres of commons – stretching between Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth and Woodbury – for their wildlife, geology, history and recreational use.

There will be more than 20 activities for all the family to enjoy during Heath Week.

It all starts with Heath Week Family Festival Day, held near Woodbury Castle on Sunday, July 28.

The fun includes mini-safaris in the 39-seat ‘Pebblebed People Carrier’ to explore the area’s hidden secrets.

This year’s week-long celebration of will also welcome East Devon AONB, Jurassic Coast Trust, Dartmoor Hill Pony Association, Devon Bat Group, Devon Loves Dogs, Devon Orienteering and many more.

The aim is to engage the local community in wildlife, history and getting active outdoors.

A diverse and engaging programme of events includes mountain biking, orienteering and a tour of the Venn Ottery Nature Reserve.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Bystock Discovery Day includes pond dipping, shelter building and bug hunts.

There will also be Nightjar safari at Dalditch Plantation, rambles and countryside walks, and a Devon Loves Dogs Waggy Walk offering fun for dogs and their owners.

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer at Clinton Devon Estates, said: “Heath Week is a brilliant event which brings back people each year who share a passion about caring for and learning about our stunning heathland. It is always great to meet those who are taking part for the first time.

“These events wouldn’t be possible without our partners who come together with their own knowledge and expertise to put on a fantastic range of activities for people and families of all ages to enjoy and take part in.

“The Pebblebed Heaths are such a special place for wildlife and people, and I’m really excited about this year’s events which celebrate our heathland heritage.”

Devon Wildlife Trust volunteer Liz Hamling and her husband Rog have helped organise Heath Week for 14 years. Liz said: “Our first display for Devon Wildlife Trust was at Joney’s Cross. We borrowed an old pasting table and had to use jump leads to hold the display boards in place.

“Heath Week has really grown over the years to the highly popular event that we have today. It’s great that so many local organisations get together to celebrate our internationally rare heathland. We enjoy sharing our knowledge and love to see children’s faces when they discover their first butterfly or grasshopper.”

Heath Week is a partnership between Clinton Devon Estates, the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, RSPB South West, Devon Wildlife Trust and East Devon District Council’s Countryside team.

The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths date back 250 million years to the Triassic period and are recognised as one of Britain’s most iconic, rare landscapes.

Pre-booking is required for some events and activities, many are free and some ask for a donation or small charge. For full details of all Heath Week events and event booking, visit www.pebblebedheaths.org.uk/media

Read more East Devon What’s On news here.

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