Shap Outdoor Festival 2024: A month-long celebration of nature and community returns for its Second Edition

Following the resounding success of its debut in 2023, the village of Shap is gearing up to host the second edition of the Shap Outdoor Festival.  Set amidst the scenic beauty of the Lowther Valley, this month-long celebration of nature and community will return on 27 April to 26 May 2024.

We were delighted to be involved when it started and are looking forward to taking part again this year. Building upon the triumph of last year, the Shap Outdoor Festival promises an even more enthralling line up of activities and events for both locals and visitors. With captivating talks, immersive walks and engaging workshops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy amidst the stunning scenery and diverse wildlife of the Lowther Valley.

“The overwhelming response to our inaugural festival last year demonstrated the incredible appetite for outdoor experiences in the Lowther Valley. We have much to offer in this quiet corner of Cumbria, made easily accessible from the M6, with ancient woodland, expanses of moorland and peatland, tranquil lakes and rivers; the festival is a fabulous showcase of what’s out there to explore. 

“This year, we’re thrilled to offer an expanded programme which starts and ends with two fabulous Farmers’ Markets, allowing us to showcase even more of the unique beauty and biodiversity of our region.”

Patrick Neaves, Shap Outdoor Festival Co-ordinator, expressed his excitement for this year’s event
Bampton and the Lowther Valley on a sunny, misty day, taken by Patrick Neaves

From Badgers to Bryophytes, and nature doodles to the dawn chorus there are a wide array of events to experience the wonders of nature.  Highlights include guided walks exploring ancient woodlands, riverbanks and peatlands led by experts from Cumbria Woodlands, Eden Rivers Trust and Cumbria Connect respectively.

A whole host of organisations and individuals including us here at Wild Haweswater, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Penrith & District Red Squirrel Group, Lowther Estate, Friends of the Lake District, Zero Carbon Cumbria, Cumbria Badger Vaccination Project, At Nature’s Pace and Cumbria Lichens and Bryophytes Group have also come together to create the exciting programme of activities and events

“As a new partnership, we’re proud to join the host of individuals and organisations involved in this exciting festival for the first time this year.  We look forward to meeting lots of people to delve into the world of peatland and river restoration, conservation grazing, and nature restoration and its impact on Shap and the wider area.

“As we seek to halt the decline and increase the abundance of nature across this landscape, this is a fantastic event to celebrate the joy that nature brings.  It’s truly heartening to see the enthusiasm and support from both locals and visitors for the conservation and appreciation of our natural environment in this area.”

Nicola Estill, People and Places Officer for Cumbria Connect, echoing the sentiment of collaboration and community engagement
Badger watching at Wild Haweswater is just one of the exciting experiences taking place in Shap Outdoor Festival. Badger image taken from the Wild Haweswater hide by Nigel Wells

The festival will kick off on Saturday 27 April with an official launch event at the Shap Farmers Market, featuring entertainment and local artisans. The month-long celebration will culminate on Saturday 25 May with another farmers market and entertainment, providing a fitting conclusion to a month of nature exploration and community spirit.

Throughout the festival month, The Exhibit ‘A’ Gallery at The Old Courthouse will showcase informative displays, artwork and photographs highlighting the area’s unique landscapes and wildlife.

For more information about the Shap Outdoor Festival 2024 and to discover the full line up of events, please visit theoldcourthouse.org/

Blog by Bailey Lamburn, Communications Manager for Cumbria Connect

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