If you are a regular reader of our column in the Sidmouth Herald you will be aware of the variety of fascinating wildlife in the Sid Valley and the people who are passionate about seeking it out and generously sharing their findings through articles, photography and storytelling.

To build on this, we want to provide more opportunities for people to come together and appreciate the wildlife that can be found in our beautiful part of the world. So we are thrilled to announce the launch of the first ever week-long Sidmouth Biodiversity Festival which will take place in early summer between Monday 5 and Sunday 11 June. 

The festival will support the purpose of our group which is to work with the community to understand and celebrate the rich diversity of wildlife present in the valley and to take action to enhance and enrich it. The festival promises to be a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature, learn something new, and make some wonderful memories with friends and family.

The festival programme is almost complete with around forty events across the week carefully planned to offer a range of activities suitable for all ages and knowledge levels. Events will be held in the town and at various outdoor locations across the valley with many being accessible.

Guided nature walks, mainly run by local expert volunteers, will take people through our stunning countryside to discover the incredible variety of flora and fauna that can be found. Individually themed walks focus on birds, plants, insects, and an exploration and citizen science experience by the river Sid.

There will be fascinating talks on diverse subjects including nature journalling, light pollution, botany, wildlife photography and healthy river systems.

On the Saturday, Exeter Science Centre will be at Kennaway House running various children’s hands-on activities exploring biodiversity. The day also includes an early bird walk in the Byes, a storytelling performance for all followed by a workshop for adults, a bug safari and a community art workshop hosted by the Coastal Community Hub.

We are proud to be working in partnership with other local organisations including the Donkey Sanctuary, Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and the National Trust who will be offering wildlife events in different parts of the valley. 

Our new biodiversity festival is just one of the many ways in which the Sid Valley community is working to protect our stunning natural landscape. By bringing people together from all walks of life to celebrate local biodiversity we hope to inspire new conservationists and nature enthusiasts.

We are very grateful to the Keith Owen Fund and Sidmouth Town Council for the financial support they have provided for our new festival.

Most events will have limited capacity so online booking will be required and will be opened at the beginning of May.

Keep an eye on our website for updates or, better still, visit the site to sign up for regular biodiversity news, events and volunteering opportunities. www.sidvalleybiodiversity.org

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