News from the Geopark

The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Festival 2023

6 May 2023

The English Riviera UNESCO Geopark Festival launches on Saturday 27 May in time for half-term.

The annual festival is a celebration of the international significance of the areas Geopark status and sees Geopark Partners and Associate Partners hosting a diverse range of events and activities across the Bay. The aim of the festival is to showcase the wonders of the Geopark through collaborative working, and to allow both residents and visitors the opportunity to discover something new along the way.

For those who enjoy walking, there is a heritage walking tour on offer from English Riviera Walking Tours, telling the story of Agatha Christie, detailing her life growing up in Torquay and how she became the world’s bestselling novelist and most successful female playwriter. For something completely different, join local Berry Head expert Nigel Smallbones on Saturday 27 May for an informative walk around the headland, absorbing his in-depth knowledge of Berry Head’s history, geology, flora, and fauna.

Heading underground, Kents Cavern is celebrating our prehistoric links to the coast. Visit the caves and learn how Stone Age people took advantage of all they could get from the sea. Follow the Living Fossil Trail around Torre Abbey gardens, explore their beautiful walled grounds and find plants alive today that were present over a millennia ago. Or why not embrace the arts and visit Artisan Collective Gallery to view their current exhibition; A Celebration of Torquay: Works of Martin Dutton.

With a third of the Geopark below the waters of the Bay, there are also some amazing activities out at sea. Reach Outdoors are holding Kayak, Paddleboarding and Coasteering sessions all week. Meanwhile, Sea Kayak Torquay are offering a chance to go on a Geopark Safari out at sea with half day and full tours available.

Melanie Border, English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Co-ordinator said; “This annual event allows us to celebrate all aspects of the Geopark and our UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organisation) designation. When many hear the term Geopark they instantly think of the fantastic Geoplay Park on Paignton seafront, but our UNESCO designation covers the whole of the English Riviera. Through our key partner sites and associate partners, the festival aims to tell the Geopark’s story from a cultural, environmental, and historical perspective. All events and activities have been designed to show how naturally inspiring Torbay is, and how Global Geoparks are not just about rocks.”

Nick Powe, Geopark Chairman said: “Once again our partners and associate partners have pulled out all the stops to create a fantastic programme of events that really celebrates both our UNESCO geopark status and our wonderful natural environment. All these fun, creative and educational activities align with the 17 UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals, which have been adopted by Geoparks across the globe.”

The Geopark festival runs until Sunday 4 June. View the full festival programme