What will you discover in Keynsham and Bath at this year’s Festival?

Dates for the Festival of Nature, the UK’s biggest free celebration of the natural world, have been announced! It kicks off on Thursday 8th June and runs Sunday 25th June, starting in Bristol before it winds down the River Avon through Keynsham and into Bath, uncovering secret wildlife spots along the way. So, with only a few months to go, let’s have a look at some fo the amazing activities and events we have planned in Bath and Keynsham!

Our first Bath-based BioBlitz, the largest ever wildlife survey to be held in the city, will take place at the National Trust’s Bushey Norwood site on 23th and 24th June and we hope that 1,000 different species can be found in 24 hours.

New drone footage that shows a ‘bat’s eye view’ of the River Avon will be previewed during the Bath leg of the festival, which will feature bats as a key theme this year. The festival will illustrate why researchers at the University of Bath call the River Avon ‘bat superhighway’.

Bristol and Bath’s waterscapes are an important feature of the Festival of Nature and visitors will be able to learn all about stories of the River Avon via a ‘cinema in a campervan’ which will follow the festival down the River Avon. Fondly known as Lionel, the VW T25 campervan is decorated as an imaginary spaceship and festival-goers are invited to step on board and enjoy this unique cinema-going experience.

Walks from Bristol to Bath on the longest day of the year will form part of the programme, as will a brand new series of talks and workshops in Bath’s Guildhall. Parade Gardens in Bath will host an all-day free family wildlife party on June 25, with music on the bandstand, local caterers and a range of exhibits and drop-in workshops.

Savita Custead, festival director, said: “The Festival of Nature is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to see our city and waterscapes in a different way and better understand the natural world which surrounds us. It’s about informing and educating, inspiring people to take action for nature and, most importantly, having fun.

“There are so many interactive activities to take part in and we are particularly excited to be able to bring a special bats theme to the Bath part of the festival this year as well as our first ever Bioblitz for the city. This year’s event will in fact mark the largest ever festival programme across Keynsham, Bath and the river path in between.”

The BBC Natural History Unit celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2017 and will be at the festival offering visitors the chance to try out camera equipment, meet wildlife presenters and find out about the history and technology changes in the industry.

“We have already lined up some great activities and exhibitors, with much more to come,” said Savita. “We are looking forward to offering a packed programme which will appeal to everyone from pre-schoolers to grandparents.”

The Bristol celebration will be over the weekend of Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June followed by the Keynsham Fun Family Sunday 18th June before culminating in Bath for the festival finale on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June.

A full festival programme will be released later this month.

All events are free to enter, but some may require advance booking so make sure to look at our full listings here, or sign up for the Festival of Nature Newsletter to keep up to date with all of the festival news and updates. You can also follow the festival on Twitter: @FestofNature and on Facebook: @BristolFON.