Let’s go wild: 10 nature-based festivals in the UK
From a rewilding gathering in Devon to eagle conservation in Scotland, these events celebrate a greener way of life
Festival of Nature, Somerset
Taking place in Bristol and Bath from today until 18 June, the Festival of Nature – run by the Natural History Consortium – offers a programme of 95 in-person and digital events including nature walks, exhibitions, film screenings and wildlife workshops. From talks by the producers of the Green Planet to a family day of performances and activities at Bristol Beacon, from taster sessions of wild swimming, to den building and Nordic walking, there’s a lot to choose from. There’s a focus on everyday actions that help the planet too, with a range of materials available to encourage people to do their bit.Most events are free, others have a maximum price of £5, on Facebook
Festival of the Forest, Herefordshire
This family day out on 19 June – on Monstay Farm in the beautiful Mortimer Forest (pictured) on the Herefordshire/Shropshire border – is a celebration of forestry crafts, products and wildlife. The Festival of the Forest will offer demonstrations – including how to build a timber house in a day – plus activities from wooden bowl carving to pot throwing with clay from the forest, and stalls selling plants and local food and drink.
Adult £5, under-12s free, friendsofmortimerforest.co.uk
Wealden literary festival, East Sussex
Launched by husband-and-wife team Andrew and Laura Willan as an escape from our screen-dominated, fast-paced lives, Wealden literary festival (25-26 June) is a celebration of nature, creativity, and the outdoors. Authors, poets, artists and makers who take inspiration from nature (including poet laureate Simon Armitage and Raynor Winn author of The Wild Silence) feature on an extensive programme of talks and activities, alongside leading scientists and environmentalists. Taking place at Boldshaves Garden in Woodchurch, Kent, much is designed to encourage children to spend time outdoors (including tree climbing and nature trails). There’s a camping area surrounded by gardens and woods, too.
Adult £12, child £8. Some events are free, others individually priced. Talk Pass Saturday (for all talks) £60. Camping extra. wealdenliteraryfestival.co.uk
New this year, Wilderfest (1-3 July) is a micro-festival celebrating nature, and the potential of our native landscapes and species to thrive once again. Held at Rewilding Coombeshead, conservationist and beaver specialist Derek Gow’s farm in north-west Devon, the weekend will be packed with inspiring talks by ecologists and rewilding experts, including ornithologist Roy Dennis, Benedict Mcdonald (the author of Rebirding), and environmental consultant Dr Roisin Campbell-Palmer. There will be anightingale talk, with music, from Sam Lee, great food and drink, on-site beaver and wildlife tours, and the chance to kickback in the beautiful countryside.
Weekend tickets £150 including camping and events, wilderlands.co.uk
Timber festival, Leicestershire
Taking place in the glades of National Forest at Feanedock in Leicestershire, Timber (1-3 July) is all about celebrating and re-examining our relationship with the natural world. Alongside live music from the likes of Penguin Cafe and the Orielles, there’ll be enchanting outdoor performance space, talks on how to live more sustainably, author-led debates, wellbeing activities from forest bathing to mindfulness walks and a preloved clothes swap.
Weekend tickets from £149.80 adult, including camping, £53.50 child (3-15). Day tickets from £48.15 adult, £21.40 child. timberfestival.org.uk
Green Gathering, Wales
Everything about the Green Gathering (4-7 August), a non-profit off-grid festival outside Chepstow, celebrates nature, the environment and a greener way of life. Wide-ranging live music, spoken word and performance feature alongside permaculture workshops, nature trails and traditional craft lessons. Speakers range from activists to academics, low-impact alternatives to modern living are showcased, and traders are chosen for their ethical sourcing. All electricity on site is solar or wind powered and festival-goers are encouraged to come by public transport, cycle or car-share.
Weekend tickets from £130 adult, £80 16-17-year-olds, £55 11-15-year-olds, £20 6-10-year-olds, under-fives free. Day tickets £35, available on the gate. greengathering.org
Into the Wild, Sussex
A nature-focused festival held on the beautiful Chiddinglye Estate in Sussex, Into the Wild (26-29 August) aims to help people develop a deeper connect to nature while having fun. There’s a huge array of workshops, bushcrafts, kids activities, storytelling, dance, yoga, plus brilliant live global music from the likes of Afriquoi, Mobius Loop and Olivia Fern, and silent discos under the trees. The focus this year is on biodiversity, rewilding and regeneration – looking at what can be done to help save the planet and its wildlife. Into the Wild also hosts smaller Wild Weekends throughout the summer.
Weekend tickets from £120 adult, £55 child, including camping and events. events.liveit.io
Between the Trees, Wales
Held in picturesque Merthyr Mawr national nature reserve in south Wales, Between the Trees festival (26-28 August) is designed to reconnect people to the natural world. Combining nature and science, the programme features contemporary folk music, art and spoken word, hands-on science workshops, and a wellbeing area. The reserve is one of Wales’s sites of special scientific interest and a haven for wildlife, with magical woodland areas and huge sand dunes framing the sea beyond.
Weekend tickets £120 adult, £50 child (under fours free); day tickets £30-£50 adults, £15 child; camping extra. betweenthetrees.co.uk
Gathering at Wild Ken hill, Norfolk
Taking place on an important rewilding site in west Norfolk, this new one-day festival (17 September) celebrates the natural world, with discussions, workshops and performances on themes from rewilding and food production to wellbeing and creativity. Speakers include environmentalist and writer Mary Colwell on her work Curlew, and Tony Jupiter, chairman of Natural England, on nature recovery, and there will be guided tours of the woodlands and beaver habitat, a forest school, nature writing workshops, yoga and meditation.
£55 adults, £30 12-24, free 11 and under. wildkenhill.co.uk
Moffat eagle festival, Scotland
Following its debut last year, the Moffat Eagle Festival (16-18 September) celebrates one of Scotland’s most iconic wildlife species. Organised by The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, a charity that works to increase populations of the bird in that area, the festival aims to highlight its conservation efforts and spread awareness of a bird that once flourished here. With wildlife talks, falconry displays, raptor identification classes, tree climbing, live music and ukulele workshops, there is plenty of fun for all ages.
Full programme and ticket prices to be confirmed. Sign up for updates. goldeneaglessouthofscotland.co.uk