A new Somerset festival dedicated to celebrating the region’s coastal routes is set to take place this autumn.
The county’s coastline will be the focus of the new Somerset and Exmoor Coast Festival to be held this September.
The England Coast Path team at Somerset Council have unveiled plans for the new event this week, which it’s hoped will boost tourism numbers.
The very first Somerset and Exmoor Coast Festival will be centred around walks on the county’s coastal routes and is set to take place from Saturday 23rd September to Sunday 1st October.
Eateries, B&Bs, galleries and other hospitality providers along the route are being encouraged to come aboard and support the festival.
”The event provides an excellent opportunity to walk the entire coast of Somerset, from Brean to Porlock Weir and celebrate its National Trail status. Visitors will also be able to participate in guided walks that explore the coastal countryside from hubs along the route,” says a spokesman.
Councillor Ros Wyke, Lead Member for Prosperity, Assets & Development, adds: “The Somerset and Exmoor Coast Festival is an exciting opportunity to put our beautiful coastline centre stage and showcase the very best of what our area has to offer.”
“We hope that by working with local tourism and hospitality businesses, we can create a fantastic range of events and activities that will encourage visitors to come and explore all that Somerset has to offer.”
“This is just the beginning of our plans to support coastal tourism in the region, and we look forward to seeing how the festival and the wider programme will help to drive economic growth and development for years to come.”
The goal is to create a Festival ‘umbrella’ under which local businesses can stage their own events, while benefiting from a targeted promotional campaign for the whole festival.
A festival directory will be created to inform visitors of the events taking place and highlight the variety of attractions and businesses along the coast.
The festival complements other events taking place in the same period, such as Somerset Arts Weeks’ open studios, to maximise Somerset’s potential to attract visitors and extend the season into the autumn months.
Communities are encouraged to get involved by highlighting their regular events within the festival or by putting on something special for visitors to experience the Somerset way of life.
The festival is one of a number of initiatives commissioned by Somerset Council and funded by the Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) which focuses on coastal tourism in Somerset, with a series of four interlinking projects operating over the next two years.
The programme seeks to attract visitors to the coast throughout the year by promoting a Somerset coast identity, as well as creating tourism business support networks, and holiday itineraries.