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A family-orientated trail and swim running festival is returning to the South Hams

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A family-orientated trail and swim running festival is returning to the South Hams

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The Something Wild Festival 2023 will take place between 8 and 10 September, in Bolberry,  Hope Cove, after being held on Dartmoor for eight years, organised by Wild Running Events CIC.

If you’re a runner, a would-be runner or swimmer, this is the place to be at the end of the summer season. 

Ceri Rees, founder and festival director, explained that they decided to move the festival back to September in order to avoid the possibility of coastal fires. “We have the best of the coastline in the South Hams and around Bolberry, and I lived here for a while, so I know the area inside and out and it’s got the feel of an ideal mini festival venue.

“This year, I took the decision to set up a steering committee to organise the festival, as it grows, so that we can give it the attention it deserves. We have worked with the National Trust and the landowner David Rossitor, who has been great and allowed us to use his field, so you can wake up under canvas and look out onto one of the best views you can find anywhere.”

In fact the location is so beautiful that the trail runs and the swim runs either finish or pass through the campsite, to really make the most of those views and the location. 

The coastline has given Ceri and the team the inspiration for the courses for the runs, with the 10k course runners following the South West Coast Path to North Sands and back, while the Ultra course (33 miles) follows a loop down to Salcombe and on to Aveton Gifford and back, before adding a loop of the 10k back at the campsite. 

“Another advantage of this fantastic location, apart from the ability to create courses off road, is the history of the place, which can create a really solid feeling of being embedded in the landscape, if you let it,’ Ceri explained.

"We want it to sit well with the community, who are used to visitors but it should be a positive interaction, which is why we are hoping to have a local historian as one of our speakers, who can offer some insightful context.

“I think we have minimised the amount of tarmac people will run on and have deliberately not hyped up the peripherals of the festival, so as to keep it authentic and not overly commercial.

“We’ve also moved the festival back to September from July because of coastal fires, which can arise in very hot summers and which can affect the coast path. There will be live acoustic music and we will be offering showers, which will be basic but still an improvement on the hosepipe in a field scenario, which we’ve had in the past!”

The aim for the Wild Runnings team this year is to build on the festival feel of the event, with more to do at the site including live music, a bar, guest speakers, yoga, movement classes, guided runs and forest school, kids races and a bouncy castle for young attendees too. 

The site will include a festival ‘circus style’ tent, toilets and basic solar showers, with guest speakers chosen to deliver a range of subjects from a historian with knowledge of Hope Cove and the surrounding areas, an expert in wild swimming and swim runs, and a big name in the world of Ultra Marathon running. 

They have improved their booking system too, with visitors buying one ticket per person (£50 for adults, £10 kids) which covers their accommodation, parking, guided runs and access to the speaker’s evening, café and the festival site as a whole, meaning it's easy, clear and simple to use. 

Alongside organising one of the premier running festivals in the UK, Wild Running organise events, including the Salmon Run Relay Ultra, Relay and 5k at the end of September, Night Runs on Dartmoor, South Devon Cornwall and Surrey, coaching, navigation course and bespoke camps, with most of their endeavours having a community angle having recently become a Community Interest Company, and Ceri also has a podcast which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.

Ceri explained that night runs were a complete novelty and considered to be  a friend had come up with in the pub one evening ‘too extreme’ in some quarters but have since become a regular theme on a runner’s calendar.

“People thought we were crazy when we first put on the Wild Night Run and the Burrator Noir in the winter but it is an amazing experience”, Ceri explained. “People are much more aware about who and what is around them in the dark, it creates a more cohesive communal feel and is really exciting and exhilarating.” 
If you want to find out more and book your place at Wild Running Festival HERE, find out more about Wild Runnings and their other events HERE or speak to Ceri and his team by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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