Geopark Festival 2012

Geopark Festival Canoes

Rocking the English Riviera Geopark Festival

June 2nd 2012 sees the start of the week-long annual English Riviera Geopark Festival on the English Riviera with stone age excitement, rocking fossils, prehistoric cave fun, ice-age painting and family archaeological digs.

The English Riviera was designated a UNESCO recognised Global Geopark in 2007 and has delighted visitors since then with tales of stone-age survival, submerged landscapes and sabre-toothed tigers roaming the landscape.

In 2009 scientists found evidence that giant sand worms lived on the English Riviera in large underground burrow holes long before the dinosaurs arrived. Then In 2011, it was discovered that a human jawbone found at the English Riviera’s spectacular Kents Cavern was 41,000 years old making it the oldest human fossil discovered in northwestern Europe. On 7th June there will be a specialist ‘Beneath the Rocks’ visit with a private viewing of the famous jawbone, led by Dr Chris Proctor.

It’s not just for old fossils! In 2012 the NEW Geoplay Park opened on Paignton Seafront and will offer lots of free Geopark fun events for youngsters throughout the Festival.

And the celebrations reach far and wide as the whole resort turns out to celebrate with events such as such as Geopark Cruises, Kids learn to Snorkel, Junior Bushcraft and Murder in the Caves PLUS some great Geopark Discovery Packages such as Canoe the Coves and Mussels by Moonlight. This year the festival also falls during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and there’ll be a lighting of beacons, with a Patriotic Party at the Guardhouse Cafe on the high cliffs at Berry Head.

Carolyn Custerson, Chief Executive of the English Riviera Tourism Company said,

“The English Riviera Geopark Festival has become hugely popular bringing scientists, experts, families and individuals to the bay for the whole fun week. Adults and families love the Geopark Packages such as Canoe the Coves where they can experience the spectacular Geopark at really close quarters.”

Nick Powe, chair of the English Riviera Geopark organisation said “This festival celebrates our beautiful coast and countryside, and its 400 million year old geological foundation. The Geopark designation, and bear in mind that if you’re anywhere in Torbay you’re in the Geopark, is not simply about protecting the rocks, it’s about using this geological heritage to bring economic benefit to the resort.

“The success of the Geoplay area in Paignton is the perfect example of this and many other Geoparks across the world are somewhat envious of what we’ve achieved. We now have the world’s largest geologically themed children’s play area and the economic impact on the town from the resort’s newest free attraction is plain to see. That’s what being a Geopark is all about and the Geopark Festival is a great way to showcase another reason why the English Riviera is such a great place to be.”

Geopark Festival 2012 information and leaflets are available from Tourist Information Centres and from: The English Riviera Geopark Website

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