The South West is a mecca for outdoor activities and adventure pursuits, and this year the inaugural South West Outdoor Festival is inviting everyone to come and explore the incredible range of opportunities that are taking place around one unique place: Heddon Valley in Exmoor National Park.
Tickets are now on sale for the festival, run in partnership with Cotswold Outdoor, the National Trust’s official outdoor retailer, which takes place over the weekend of 23–25 September. The event is suitable for everyone from young families to adventurous individuals, with something for all ages and levels of skill, experience and fitness. All that’s needed is a willingness to have a go, try something new or take on a challenge. Alternatively, you can simply soak up the ambience, and enjoy the local food and entertainment.
Visitors can camp for the whole weekend in a riverside paddock, or just come and explore for a day. The weekend is packed with activities, from intro experiences to organised events for runners and bike riders. You can join group sessions in everything from kayaking and tree climbing to SUP and wild swimming, or enjoy gentler activities such as star gazing, wild food foraging, camp cooking and nature walks around the coast and through the valley.
Festival goers will also have the opportunity to hear inspirational tales of adventure and exploration from well-known personalities, including:
- TV personality, explorer, marine biologist and great escapologist Monty Halls
- Former GB rower and current super smiley adventurer Anna McNuff
- International off-piste athlete Tobias Mews
- Trail-running book authors and outdoor-parenting experts Jen and Sim Benson
- Slow adventurer and rapid raconteur Jasper Winn.
Highly qualified outdoor education instructors and guides will be on hand to teach the essential skills required for pursuits such as rock climbing, rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, slacklining, coasteering, mountain biking, wild swimming and even axe throwing (yes, really). Over the course of the weekend, a series of timed and competitive adventure events will be taking place, including trail running races, cycling and multisport challenges.
Rob Joules, National Trust General Manager said: ‘The South West is one of the best places in the country for outdoor activities and this festival will be bringing them all together under one roof and over one weekend in the beautiful Heddon Valley. From taster sessions to thrilling challenges, or just chilling out by the campfire, there will be something for everyone to enjoy no matter what age or ability.’
Event Director, Patrick Kinsella from Adventure Types, said: ‘From the wild tor-topped moors to the stunning shore, the South West is one of the most naturally spectacular parts of the British Isles and we are thrilled to be working with the National Trust and Cotswold Outdoor on this festival, which will showcase the region’s immense credentials as a truly world class outdoor playground. ‘Thanks to the National Trust, Cotswold Outdoor and a veritable army of local outdoor experts and enthusiasts, festival goers will enjoy a multitude of experiences, many of them free, learning new skills, meeting new friends, listening to live music, navigating the night sky and sampling delicious local produce. Come and explore – we look forward to meeting you.’
Cotswold Outdoor, who are in partnership with the National Trust, will be operating a knowledge centre throughout the weekend, offering a footwear clinic, bike health checks, camping stove demonstrations and rucksack fittings. They will also conduct a range of fascinating experiments, demonstrating the technology behind fabrics used for outdoor clothing and equipment.
Greg Nieuwenhuys, CEO of Cotswold Outdoor, said: ‘We are very excited to be supporting the first ever South West Outdoors Festival. At Cotswold Outdoor we want to inspire people to go out and enjoy nature, because we believe passionately that life is better out there. Whether it’s climbing a mountain, going for a bike ride or a 10 minute walk, time outdoors makes everyone feel happier.’
Places are limited so booking on to activities is essential. For tickets and further details click here