Record numbers at Big Night Out on the beach
A beach education event jointly organised by the National Trust South Devon Countryside Team and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit attracted 500 people to South Milton Sands. 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 nationally important protected landscape looked after by the National Trust.
The programme of family activities was wide ranging and included taster watersports and archery. The theme for this year was ‘beach creatures.’ Hundreds of people joined in with rock pooling during the afternoon to find out what lives in the intertidal zone – star species of the day included the Montague’s crab, the broad clawed porcelain crab and a small squat lobster. The children were lucky enough to spot a velvet swimming crab which had shed its shell and had the opportunity to feel its soft body before the new carapace hardened. There was a beach creature treasure hunt, Shark activities and egg case hunting, and making big beach creature totems to take to the parade.
Clouds cleared back for a beautiful sunset enjoyed by hundreds of people on our Sundowners Parade waving goodbye to the sun before lighting the lanterns they had made during the day. Fire screens made by children from Thurlestone Primary School and visits to AONB and National Trust stands at Kingsbridge show. Over forty people joined in the star gazing event led by Mike Cooke appreciating the dark skies of South Milton.
Lots of visitors had come before and there were a number of compliments. Alice aged 5 said she was especially looking forward to being outside on the beach when it got dark as it would be so exciting. The Chinn family said: “Had a lovely time at Big Night Out on the Beach today. We have been to South Milton before but as we left sometime after 8pm, our 7 year old announced" I am going to remember this beach forever". Thanks so much. We can safely say it was a huge success for us.”
Emma Reece National Trust Community Ranger commented “it was fantastic to see so many local families enjoying all the activities on the beach - it was a really positive event following the devastating winter storms. “ Communities Officer Nicky Bailey from South Devon AONB said “ Over 500 people enjoyed this wonderful evening on the beach and went away knowing much more about the wildlife on our coast, the work we do in the AONB and the wonder of being outside and enjoying our tremendous dark skies. We are so pleased to be able to run this event in partnership with the National Trust South Devon Countryside team and we are already looking forward to