What is Shap Outdoor Festival?
Nestled between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, just 5 miles from us here at Haweswater, the village of Shap lies in the picturesque Lowther Valley. Perhaps most famous for its award-winning chip shop, it is now keen to also become known for its landscape and wildlife, by launching the first ever Shap Outdoor Festival on Saturday 22 April.
The festival is a celebration of the stunning scenery and nature that can be explored in the Lowther Valley, with a number of individuals and organisations, including us coming together to provide a packed programme of events for locals and visitors alike.
Patrick Neaves, Shap Outdoor Festival Co-ordinator said: “The nearby National Parks are undoubtedly beautiful, but the Lowther Valley has its own, unique story to tell. Shap Outdoor Festival is showcasing how this area is an equally exciting place to explore, for anyone looking for dramatic scenery and wonderful wildlife. Easily accessible from the M6, we’ve got ancient woodland, expanses of open moorland and peatland, tranquil lakes and rivers, and a whole host of plants, animals and views to experience in this quieter corner of Cumbria.”
Bampton and the Lowther Valley looking towards Haweswater by Patrick Neaves
From bats, badgers and bluebells to red squirrels, lichens, and birds. There’s talks, walks and even a Friends of the Lake District walling competition throughout the festival month.
A whole host of organisations and individuals including us here at the RSPB, Wild Intrigue, At Nature’s Pace, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Penrith & District Red Squirrel Group, Lowther Estate, a local bat expert, Friends of the Lake District Dark Skies Cumbria, LUniverse Planetarium (Lancaster University), Cumbria Lichens and Bryophytes Group have come together to create the exciting programme of activities and events. The festival will be officially launched at Shap Farmers Market on Saturday 22 April, where a variety of stalls will be present for locals and visitors to find out more.
Information, artwork and photographs will be on display at The Exhibit ‘A’ Gallery at The Old Courthouse during the festival.
Here at Haweswater, we’re delighted to be involved in the first ever Shap Outdoor Festival with our Dawn Chorus and Bluebell walks as well as Badger Watching and Red Squirrel photography opportunities. Our Site Manager Lee Schofield’s book talk ‘Wild Fell: Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Hill Farm’ has toured around England so it’s a pleasure to be bringing it back on local turf for the Festival on 2 May. We hope to see some familiar faces as well as new ones there, and at the host of other special events going on throughout the Festival.
Full Programme for Shap Outdoor Festival
- Launch event at Shap Farmer’s Market – Saturday 22 April
- Lowther Talk by Jim Bliss – Tuesday 25 April
- Bats Talk and Walk with Eve Borrino – Friday 28 April
- Red Squirrel Walk – Saturday 29 April
- Wild and Well Swim and Hike – Sunday 30 April
- Wild Fell Book Talk by Lee Schofield – Tuesday 2 May
- RSPB Dawn Chorus Walk – Sunday 7 May
- Lichens Walk with Caz Walker and Chris Cant – Monday 8 May
- Save our Reds Talk by Robert Benson – Tuesday 9 May
- Dark Skies Talk by Jack Ellerby – Wednesday 10 May
- Bluebells Mindfulness and Meditation Walk – Wednesday 10 May
- Friends of the Lake District Dry Stone Walling Competition – Saturday 13 May
- Lancaster University LUniverse Planetarium – Thursday 18 May
- Cumbria Wildlife Trust Peatland Vegetation Walk – Friday 19 May
- Cumbria Wildlife Trust Peatland Restoration and Habitats Talk – Friday 19 May
- Prehistoric Landscape Walk and Talk – Sunday 21 May
- Badger watching at Haweswater available to book throughout the whole month
- Red Squirrel photography at Haweswater available to book throughout the whole month
For full details on the range of experiences taking place throughout the festival, visit theoldcourthouse.org/
Badger taken from the Haweswater badger hide by Patrick Neaves
– Blog by Annabel Rushton, RSPB Visitor Experience Manager