Around 350 people attended the second ‘Big Night Out on the Beach’ jointly organised by South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (South Devon AONB) and National Trust South Devon Countryside at South Milton Sands Thurlestone on 14th September. The weather was perfect for the programme designed to open everyone’s eyes to what lies beneath the surface and after dark in this special area of the AONB looked after by the National Trust.
Children and grown-ups alike were kept busy with a full programme of activities including story telling from Clive Pig, and Beach Olympics provided by 'Active Devon'. The rockpooling sessions were especially popular and there was even a compass jellyfish found washed up along with oyster thief seaweed anemones and shellfish. ‘Surfin Sam’ was kept busy with lots of people trying out stand up paddle boarding and surfing, many for the first time. Crafts were very popular all afternoon with pebble painting and mini raft building provided by the ‘Wildwoods’ forest school team. Children took part in treasure hunt, the mystery of Neptune’s treasure and then came back to the tents to make Neptune’s crowns to wear and collect their treasure
A Bird watching tour was led by the RSPB and as the light slipped away Dave Norman from Torbay Astronomical society brought along a telescope and binoculars so that people could have a closer look at the stars and moon which were out in abundance on the beautifully clear night reminding everyone about the need to avoid light pollution so that we can continue to appreciate such skies. He took people on a guided tour of the skies and pointed out constellations and even a shooting star. Decorated paper bags were lit to make a line of lanterns along the beach, and lit the path back off the beach with loads of tea lights in jars to make a magical way home for participants.
Communities Officer Nicky Bailey from South Devon AONB said “lots of people said how much they had enjoyed it with one child adding “it was awesome – thanks so much for letting us come!” Zoe Oldman who brought her family said “Please can I say thank you very much for a great event. We all really enjoyed it and it was a very special end to the summer.”