New outdoor arts festival at Woolacombe to celebrate sand dunes

Authored by Mary
Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2022 - 23:01

The National Trust at North Devon have teamed up with Dynamic Dunescapes, StudioKIND and a range of local artists and businesses to host the first Woolacombe sand dune arts festival on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August.

The festival is free to attend and is a celebration of the importance of sand dunes which, as well as being spaces that benefit the mental and physical wellbeing of many of us, also act as vital habitats for a wide range of wildlife.

The two-day event will take place on Woolacombe Dunes and the line-up includes an open-air art gallery, yoga and mindfulness workshops, and a range of self-guided activity trails through the sand dunes. The famous Woolacombe dunes cow trail will also be returning for the festival, with the opportunity for visitors to get involved with painting a new cow before it joins the others grazing in the dunes. Throughout the weekend the festival will be filled with free, drop-in family activities such as beach art, grass painting, ‘seed bomb’ making and wood carving.

The crown jewel of the festival will be the art exhibition, which will showcase the sand dune-inspired entries of the festival’s Dynamic Dunescapes Art Competition. The winners will be chosen by public vote at the festival and local businesses have kindly provided prizes including a hang-gliding or paragliding flight with Fly Like a Bird, and a surf lesson for two at Croyde.

Those interested in entering the competition can find out more here can enter by sending a photograph of their artwork to, along with a confirmation of whether they are entering the under 16 or over 16 category. All submissions must be received by 23:59 on Monday 15 August 2022. Full terms and conditions can be found at the link above.

Fraser Goodfellow is the North Devon National Trust’s Dynamic Dunescapes Engagement Officer, and has put together the event line up: "We’re looking to create a celebration of sand dunes, the amazing plants & animals that live within them, and the way being in nature can help us feel. We’re really excited to be hosting the first Woolacombe Dunes Art Festival, and to see some of the fantastic artwork celebrating sand dunes. It's great to be hosting this event in Devon, where we have some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline and fantastic sand dunes, providing us with some great artistic inspiration."

Sand dunes are an important habitat for a number of threatened species in Devon, from flowering plants like the bee orchid and marsh helleborine, to reptiles like slowworm and sand lizard. Songbirds like the skylark are a familiar feature of our coastal landscapes and make their homes in healthy sand dunes, as do plenty of mammals like weasels and dormice, which in turn support our larger bird of prey species like kestrel and red kite.

This free event is hosted by National Trust, in partnership with Dynamic Dunescapes, StudioKIND and a range of local artists and businesses. Dynamic Dunescapes is a project working to restore coastal sand dune habitats for people, communities and wildlife across England and Wales, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU LIFE Programme. Project partners are Natural England, Plantlife, Natural Resources Wales, National Trust and Wildlife Trusts, and North Devon National Trust are leading on the engagement works taking place in Devon.

A full schedule of events during the festival weekend can be found at: