A beach education event jointly organised by the South Devon Countryside National Trust and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit attracted 850 people to South Milton sands. The event formed part of the inaugural ‘Outstanding Week’ and was one of 100 events taking place in AONBs across the country!
The dry 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. The programme of family activities was wide ranging and included taster water sports, kite making, making nautical necklaces from beach ‘treasures’ collected on the day and hula hooping. There was a treasure hunt, rock pooling. Volley ball, ping pong, storytelling around the fire, rock pooling and a bird walk.
The weather was perfect and there was a beautiful sunset enjoyed by everyone on the beach. Neptune’s Sundown Parade with jam jar lanterns escorted Neptune a willow and tissue paper structure made by Nicky Bailey and Emma Reece together with his fishy friends constructed by the pupils of Thurlestone Primary, back to the sea. The path was lit by fire screens made by families on the AONB stand at the Kingsbridge Show.
There was lots of complimentary feedback. One mum from Malborough said “we love the whole event and come every year. It’s a perfect setting. We love the fact that we are on the beach at sunset, it’s such a different experience for the children to playing on the beach during the day. My son loves looking at all the wildlife in the rockpools as well as the beach games.”
Emma Reece Area Ranger National Trust said “the event was a great way to mark the Trust's Coast festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Neptune campaign. We created willow fish and a willow Neptune with pupils from Thurlestone primary school. The sundown parade to return Neptune to the sea was really special with hundreds of local families joining the parade. It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying the activities at this beautiful beach. “
Communities Officer Nicky Bailey from South Devon AONB said “ This year’s Big Night Out was our best yet, a great way to start ‘Outstanding week.”! A perfect day, wonderful sunset and dark skies filled with stars – the South Devon AONB at its best! This event has such a great atmosphere, lots of people enjoying the last golden days of Summer. Thanks to everyone for coming along and to our National Trust colleagues for working with us to make it such a success.”