The vibrant colours of autumn are on their way, offering people the perfect excuse to get outside and get closer to nature on Dartmoor National Park this October half term.
The National Park has teamed up with partners including Dartmoor Skies and the RSPB to host free or low-cost family events themed on nature. From Lino printing to litter picking; stargazing to bird watching, there’s something for everyone. Some events are limited in numbers and need to be booked in advance.
Saturday 23 October – Sunday 31 October, 10am – 4pm: Princetown Visitor Centre. Free, no booking required.
Take the slug stone challenge! Pick up a challenge sheet and travel through the centre learning more about Dartmoor's ash black slug. Collect a badge at the end.
Tuesday 26 October, 7pm – 9pm: Haytor Visitor Centre. Booking required, cost by donation, maximum of 25 places.
Join Dartmoor Skies for an evening of stargazing. Dartmoor Skies' volunteers are keen to share their knowledge about what's above us and answer any questions.
Thursday 28 October, 10.30am & 1.30pm: Princetown Visitor Centre. Booking required, free but donations welcome, maximum of 12 places per session.
Dartmoor National Park Authority is hosting a family friendly Time for Nature Lino printing workshop where children can draw, carve and print their own design onto 70th anniversary bunting.
Friday 29 October, 11am & 1pm: Haytor Visitor Centre.
Join Dartmoor Ranger Bill Allen for a litter pick around Haytor. People can stay for two minutes, 20 minutes or longer! Equipment provided.
Saturday 30 October, 10.30am – 11.30am: Princetown Visitor Centre.
Join Dartmoor Rangers Andrea Roberts and Serina Rouse for a litter pick along popular walking routes from the village. Equipment is provided. Meet 10.30am at the visitor centre.
Saturday 30 October, 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm: Postbridge Visitor Centre. Free, but donations encouraged. No booking needed.
The visitor centre team are hosting a walk that gets up-close to nature and, using microscopes provided, people will take photos of the miniature worlds on Dartmoor.
Throughout the week, the RSPB will be on hand to help people learn more about Dartmoor’s birds. Find the RSPB at the National Park Visitor Centres at Princetown on Sunday 24 and Tuesday 26 October and Postbridge on Saturday 30 October during visitor centre opening hours.
Rebecca Martin, Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Visitor Services Manager, said: “We’ve come up with a fun programme of adventures that allow people to become nature explorers.
“For those who prefer to spend time doing their own thing, our visitor centres have plenty of activity sheets for people to take away and Information Advisers can offer hints and tips on places to go and what to see. Our visitor centres also sell a range of gifts, maps, guides and books so people are bound to find something that interests them. We’d encourage people to jump in and get involved!”
2021 marks the 70th anniversary of Dartmoor being designated as a National Park. To celebrate, the Authority is running a Time for Nature Challenge until March 2022. From woodland walks to building bug hotels, there’s lots of activities for people of all ages to get involved with.
Andy Bailey, Dartmoor National Park’s Outreach and Interpretation Officer, said: “Time for Nature is about making time to enjoy wildlife and nature and make new discoveries about the world around us, whether that’s at home or when we visit Dartmoor. Take part in activities to discover, enjoy and protect nature and earn points as you go. You can do it at home or when you visit Dartmoor and if you get 70 points or more, you can be in with the chance of winning a goodie bag.”
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Donations of time and money are essential for us to be able to look after the heritage and wildlife of Dartmoor and to make it a place for everyone to enjoy today, tomorrow and for the future.