Mini safari among the activities as Heath Week returns

Pupils from Otterton C of E School visit the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths aboard the new Pebblebed pe

Pupils from Otterton C of E School visit the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths aboard the new Pebblebed people carrier and learn about animal habitats from Kate Ponting, Countryside Learning Officer. - Credit: © Guy Newman

A popular activities week celebrating an East Devon beauty spot’s wildlife, history and recreational use is returning.

Heath Week, running from Sunday, July 28, until Saturday, August 3, will see 20 activities put on over the course of six days at the Pebblebed Heaths.

It starts with the Heath Week Family Festival Day held near Woodbury Castle on Sunday which includes heathland mini-safaris in a 39-seat people carrier.

The programme for the rest of the week's events includes mountain biking, orienteering, a tour of the Venn Ottery Nature Reserve, Devon Wildife Trust's Bystock Discovery Day, a nightjar safari at Dalditch Plantation as well as rambles and countryside walks.

Kate Ponting, countryside learning officer at Clinton Devon Estates which owns and manages the land, said: "Heath Week is a brilliant event which brings back people each year who share a passion about caring for and learning about our stunning heathland.

"It is always great to meet those who are taking part for the first time.

"These events wouldn't be possible without our partners who come together with their own knowledge and expertise to put on a fantastic range of activities for people and families of all ages to enjoy and take part in.

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"The Pebblebed Heaths are such a special place for wildlife and people, and I'm really excited about this year's events which celebrate our heathland heritage."

Devon Wildlife Trust vlunteer Liz Hamling and her husband, Rog, have helped organise Heath Week for 14 years.

She said: "Our first display for Devon Wildlife Trust was at Joney's Cross.

"We borrowed an old pasting table and had to use jump leads to hold the display boards in place.

"Heath Week has really grown over the years to the highly popular event that we have today. It's great that so many local organisations get together to celebrate our internationally rare heathland.

"We enjoy sharing our knowledge and love to see children's faces when they discover their first butterfly or grasshopper."

Pre-booking is required for some events and activities, many are free and some ask for a donation or small charge.

For full details of all Heath Week events and event booking, click here.