The English Riviera UNESCO Geopark Festival returns from Thursday 26 May to Thursday 2 June, coinciding with the Half Term holiday. The annual festival is a celebration of the international significance of the area’s Geopark status and sees Geopark Partners and Associate Partners hosting a diverse range of events and activities right across the Bay. The aim of the festival is to showcase the wonders of the Geopark through collaborative working and to allow both residents and visitors to discover something new along the way.

There are various walking tours on offer including one from Taleblazers, who will be exploring the Geology of Hope’s Nose. English Riviera Walking Tours are hosting a stroll called Torquay at War, which takes in everything from Agatha Christie’s contribution to both World Wars to the dramatic events leading up to D-Day. For something completely different, a Ranger from Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust will be hosting a Berry Head Bat Walk and a unique opportunity to see the rare greater horseshoe bats.

Heading underground, Kents Cavern are holding an event called Sustainability in the Stone Age, which looks at how prehistoric people maintained a sustainable lifestyle through responsible consumption and production. Then down on the seashore, the team from The Seal Project are hosting a Grey seal talk and litter pick  at Fishcombe Cove Café in Brixham.

Most activities are family-friendly but several are especially suitable for children and young people. Torre Abbey is holding a Family art event called Continental Collision, which allows people to learn about the geology of Torbay through art and craft. Meanwhile the Cockington Nature Ranger Club provides the opportunity for families to learn about the fantastic nature in the country park, especially the trees. There’s also a Rockpool Ramble down at Goodrington Beach, when youngsters can discover some incredible marine wildlife like feisty crabs, slimy anemones and wriggly starfish.

Creative art activities on the cards include a Geopark Art Workshop at Beacon Cove, where participants can create plein air (open air) sketches, before heading back to the Artizan Collective Gallery to turn their ideas into a unique piece of art to take home. At Cockington there will also be an Outdoor painting and sketching session with their artist in residence, as well as the opportunity to create your very own sheets of paper, in red, white and blue colours to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

With a third of the Geopark below the waters of the Bay, there are also some amazing activities out at sea. Reach Outdoors are holding a Kayak and Wildlife Tour, as well as a Coasteer and Litter Pick, with the opportunity to help clear litter from some of our more remote coves and beaches. Meanwhile, Sea Kayak Torquay are offering a chance to explore the outermost extremities of Torbay’s ancient coral reef and islands. The team from Vigilance of Brixham are offering the chance to helm their working heritage vessel, with its iconic red heritage sails.

Torbay is working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and as part of this commitment, Torbay Council and the new Torbay Climate Partnership are hosting a series of Climate Conversations as part of the Geopark Festival. Each of these half day workshops will have a different theme, taking in Waste Minimisation and Food, Nature-based Solutions, Transport and Mobility and Decarbonising Homes. 

Nick Powe, Geopark Chairman said: “Once again our partners and associate partners have pulled out all the stops to create a fantastic programme of events that really celebrates both our UNESCO geopark status and our wonderful natural environment. All of these fun, creative and educational activities align with the 17 UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals, which have been adopted by Geoparks across the globe.”

Leader of Torbay Council Steve Darling said: “Living in Torbay it’s easy to take our natural environment for granted and we need to ensure we all take time out to immerse ourselves in our beautiful Bay – I personally really enjoy sea kayaking.

“This year’s English Riviera Geopark Festival looks really exciting, and I do encourage everyone to have a look at the programme and get involved if you can - here is literally something for everyone.

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said:  “If you are able to make one of the upcoming Climate Conversations, we would value your input and I’m sure you will find them really rewarding. We are also planning a wider public event in July followed by a consultation in the autumn and will share more details soon.  We need everyone’s support in Torbay to help us meet our ambitious goal of becoming carbon Neutral by 2030.”  

To find out more about the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark festival, visit the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark website.  

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