Where the wild things are… (and why they’re going)

This weekend (23-25 September) North Devon’s Heddon Valley is set to host the first South West Outdoor Festival, welcoming explorers of all ages to come and experience an exciting feast of alfresco adventures and activities.

The picturesque valley is usually off-limits to campers, but for this weekend only, the National Trust are inviting festival goers to pitch their tents in the pretty paddocks that run alongside the chattering River Heddon.


There are a range of activities on offer during the festival outdoor yoga, guided photography walks, mountain-bike skills session, watersports, foraging and much more.

 Grab a locally brewed beer from the pop-up bar outside the Hunter’s Inn, and enjoy an acoustic adventure around the main stage with live performances from top acts including the band Echo Town (Saturday evening, free) and Jenna Witts (Sunday afternoon, free).

 Experts will be offering free advice all weekend at the Cotswold Outdoor Knowledge Centre in the Festival Hub, on everything from how to choose the best trail shoe, to the best ways to pack a backpack and cook the perfect outdoor meal. Trained bike technicians are also on hand to give your bike a free mechanical medical.

 The festival also welcomes a range of celebrity adventurers, including TV presenter and expedition leader Monty Halls, international adventure athletes Tobias Mews, James Ketchell and Anna McNuff, extreme sleeper and author Phoebe Smith, record setting runner Damian Hall and family adventure experts the Meeks, and Jen and Sim Benson. (Talks taking place all weekend. All free)


It promises to be a very family friendly event, with lots of events and sessions designed specifically for children, and all the entertainment and many of the activities are completely free.

 For tickets and further details visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/swof

Photos: National Trust