Walks talks and workshops take place over three weeks from 7 October featuring a moorland safari, an introduction to mountain biking, and foraging the River Nidd.
The celebration of Nidderdale’s internationally important heather moorlands is hosted by the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The partnership helps people get involved in the historic landscapes, cultural heritage and wildlife habitats in the region.
Liz Milner, Discovery and Learning Project Officer at the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, said: “Autumn is nature’s seasonal highlight, and the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors before winter sets in. It’s a great time to explore an area packed with history and wildlife. The Festival offers a hands-on way to really indulge in autumnal splendour right in the heart of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Beauty.”
From archaeological discoveries, field trips, to visiting a working farm and taking a four-wheel drive on a moorland management safari, the Festival promises to get you up close to nature, with the odd warming cuppa and cake.
For competent cyclists seeking new vistas and adventure, there’s off-road cycling from a qualified mountain bike instructor for an introduction to biking in the region taking in breath-taking views.
The Festival also features experts, including ecologist and bat specialist, Dr Anna Berthinussen and professional gundog trainer, Natasha Bujnock, who invites you to meet the dogs and puppies who work the moorland, as well as offering a few training tips for your own pets.
From dogs to bogs, Dr Tim Thom from the Yorkshire Peat Partnership explores the habitats of peatlands, and botanist Dr Judith Allinson, takes you on a beginner’s guide to examining the walls and woodland lichens, on a guided botanical walk.
Professional photographer for The Sunday Times and Geographical Magazine, Paul Harris, will host a photographic workshop to help you hone your skills using the moorland’s dramatic scenery, to take the perfect landscape photograph.
For star gazers, the York Astronomical Society will be at the Lime Tree Farm Observatory for Dark Skies – Star Gazing evenings.
Guest speaker at the Festival is the BBC producer, Mary Colwell-Hector. Mary’s latest book, Curlew Moon: 500 Miles for Curlews, is out in spring 2018. She will speak about her passion for curlews and the moorlands they call home. Mary has produced many natural history series such as Natural Histories and Shared Planet.
Liz added: “Perhaps not everyone is aware that Upper Nidderdale is home to some of the finest heather moorlands in the country. They are internationally important for conservation because of their rich concentration of rare plants and wildlife. So if you just want to explore this area of outstanding natural beauty, meet like-minded nature lovers, or just be inspired this autumn, we look forward to welcoming you.”
To book, or visit the full schedule visit uppernidderdale.org.uk
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