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

tall forest trees with sun and bracken

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

storytelling session at literary festival

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


Wilderfest, Devon

White storks taken at Derek Gow’s farm.
White storks on Derek Gow’s farm. Photograph: Jonny Weeks

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 a nightingale 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

musicians on woodland stage
The Eyrie Stage at Timber Photograph: Wild Rumpu

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

Merthry Mawr sand dunes
Merthry Mawr sand dunes. Photograph: Tom Viggars/Alamy

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

Tree activities at the Moffat eagle festival.
Tree activities at the Moffat eagle festival. Photograph: Phil Wilkinson Photography & Video/PHIL WILKINSON

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

Contributor

Jane Dunford

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
20 great pub walks, chosen by nature writers
Pull on your boots and enjoy the countryside in all its autumn glory. Ten of Britain’s best nature writers reveal their favourite routes – and where they like to refuel on the way

15, Oct, 2016 @6:00 AM

Article image
Go rewild in the country: a weekend kids’ camp in Sussex
Nature and falconry sessions on the mystical High Weald are topped off by a session at a ‘wild spa’. It’s a joyful, muddy hit with this family

Gemma Bowes

20, Jul, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Splendid isolation: 15 of the best off-grid stays in the UK
These rural retreats – from a woodland ‘truffle’ in Devon to a Welsh house of straw – are perfect for a back-to-nature holiday and a digital detox

Gemma Bowes

22, Jan, 2022 @11:00 AM

Article image
Wildcats, storks and beavers: my stay on a Devon rewilding farm
New shepherd’s huts offer guests close encounters with the magical menagerie at a wildlife project with visionary plans

Patrick Barkham

05, Jun, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
Six of the best festivals on the UK coast this summer
From opera to sand sculptures and morris dancing to Madness, there’s loads of festival fun to be had on or near the beach this summer

Will Coldwell

11, Jun, 2017 @9:00 AM

Article image
Stays in splendid isolation: 10 of the UK’s best off-grid retreats
Turn off the laptop, ditch the phone and tune into nature at a remote bothy, lighthouse, cabin or narrowboat

Louise Roddon

29, May, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
10 of Britain’s best off-grid cabins, lodges and cottages
Turn off, zone out and settle into the peace of nature

Annabelle Thorpe

01, Aug, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
UK nature projects to be celebrated on World Rewilding Day
The drive to restore ecosystems has resulted in Saturday’s global celebration, with many British habitats to support

Lorna Parkes

19, Mar, 2021 @6:27 AM

Article image
Where to go wild in the UK

Spring is the perfect time of year to go wildlife spotting in Britain, but if you know where to look there is plenty to see all year round

17, Mar, 2009 @12:48 PM

Article image
‘A wild pony stamped on my tent!’: seven readers on their first camping experiences
Many of us are holidaying close to home this year and opting for camping, having never tried it before. Readers recall the cold, wet, wild and wonderful experiences they have had under canvas

Guardian readers

28, Jul, 2021 @1:20 PM