From crabbing to kayaking and walking to photography, the Exmoor Coast Festival celebrates all the wonderful things to do along our stunning coastline. The event is coordinated by Bryan Cath for Exmoor Tourism and there is something for everyone to enjoy, mostly free, from Ilfracombe in the west to Watchet in the east.
For those who have lots of energy, there are some challenging activities to try their hand at with qualified trainers. Probably the most daring is coasteering at Hele Bay near Ilfracombe on Tuesday 26 May – this is rock climbing, but sideways with the sea always close by. For those who want to try out vertical rock climbing then the Valley of Rocks on Thursday 28 May is the place to go. There are two opportunities to try out kayaking, at Lee Bay near Lynton on Wednesday 27 May and Combe Martin on Thursday 28 May. For the bikers there’s a guided mountain bike ride around Horner near Porlock on Monday 25 May. And there’s an opportunity to try coarse fishing at Slade Reservoir on Wednesday 27 May with a South West Lakes ranger.
There are a variety of walks, one around Lee Abbey near Lynton on Saturday 23 May, takes in the grounds of the abbey, which are not normally open to the public. On Thursday 28 May there is a coastal walk around Porlock and at Combe Martin a walk find out about the trades and settlements heritage walk. For those who want to stretch their legs there’s a challenging walk along the rugged coast path on Selworthy Beacon with the Exmoor Society on Saturday 30 May.
Bryan Cath says: “The range of events on offer is astonishing and we do hope that people will come along and join in as many as possible.”
For those with smaller children there are several events taking place which will be perfect. On Saturday 23 May Combe Martin celebrates Hunting the Earl of Rone where children can join in the Junior Party Day and on Monday see the main parade through the length of the village. On Sunday 24 May there is a charity duck race at Porlock. On Monday 25 May there is a beach safari at Lynmouth with a National Park Ranger and a sandcastle competition at Combe Martin beach. On Thursday 28 May join in a free day with the National Park on their Big Adventure Day at Lynmouth. On Friday 29 May you can join the Devon Wildlife Trust in a Shoresearch looking for pond-life at Lynmouth. On Saturday 30 May why not join in the Exmoor World Championship Crabbing Competition at Porlock Weir. At Combe Martin Museum you can join in a fun afternoon at the Children’s Activity Workshop.
Running throughout the Coast Festival is an art exhibition at Contains Art at Watchet. This displays artists’ impressions of the geology of the impressive rock formations in that area, our own Jurassic coast. There will also be a barbecue with music and activities on Saturday 30 May at Watchet. Somerset Wildlife Trust are putting on an exhibition of coast art and marine wildlife at Porlock on Wednesday 27 May.
The National Park’s Lynmouth Pavilion is putting on various events throughout the Coast Festival. On Saturday 23 you can enjoy songs, stories and pictures celebrating the history of Exmoor. On Monday 25 May come and see the film about the amazing feat of endurance when the Louisa Lifeboat was hauled from Lynmouth to Porlock Weir to save a stricken ship. On Wednesday 27 May meet the Coastguards and discover the challenges they face on our dangerous coast. On Thursday 28 May in the evening come and enjoy some stunning photography taken around the National Park by Nigel Stone from Exmoor National Park.
There are some more relaxing events taking place. On Monday 25 May in the afternoon enjoy the open gardens at Woolhanger near Parracombe with craft stalls and cream teas. We all love our cream teas and there are more at the Sail Loft at Combe Martin Museum on Tuesday 26 May in the morning. On Thursday 28 May at The Ship in Porlock Weir come and join in some sea shanties in the evening. On Friday 29 May go along to the Regal Theatre in Minehead for an enchanting puppet show about the Musicians of Bremen. On Saturday 30 May visit the Knitting Workshop in Combe Martin to brush up on your skills. Closing the festival on Sunday 31 May is an afternoon of music, readings and more cream teas at St Mary’s Church at Lynton.
To find all the details of the Coast Festival please visit www.visit-exmoor.co.uk/coast-fest.