Fantastic Festival due to make a splash

Eden Rivers Trust is planning an exciting Festival of events and activities through the summer, culminating in The Big Splash, a giant celebration at Rickerby Park in Carlisle on Saturday 1 September.  

Rachel Purdon, Events Organiser and Marketing Officer for Eden Rivers Trust says, “The Eden Rivers Festival is all about bringing together the great things the Eden Valley has to offer - heritage, wildlife, walking, cycling, fishing and canoeing.  The range of events means that there is something for everyone, whatever their age, experience and interests.  And then at the end of the summer, just before children go back to school, The Big Splash will be a fantastic day out for all the family.”

As part of the summer programme a number of beautiful gardens along the river, the Gardens of Eden, will be opened to the public in July and there will also be a series of guided walks along different sections of the river during August.  There will be various opportunities during the school holidays for families to explore ponds and wetland habitats at Warcop and at a new wetland centre just outside Carlisle too.

The culmination of the Eden Rivers Festival will be The Big Splash, a free one day event providing fun for all the family on, in and by the river.  Up to 5000 people are expected to converge on Rickerby Park on Saturday 1 September 2007.  This is the first event of its kind in the north west and a chance for everyone to learn a little more about the Eden and how they can help to look after it while also having fun and enjoying the river too.

The Big Splash event will include a sponsored raft race, canoe races, fishing competitions and demonstrations as well as opportunities for people to try canoeing and fishing for themselves.  There will be all sorts of activities for families including pond dipping, craft workshops, a giant water vole burrow to explore and opportunities to see the wildlife of the Eden close up.

Eden Rivers Festival is organised by Eden Rivers Trust, a charity set up 10 years ago to assist in the conservation, protection and improvement of the River Eden, partly by increasing awareness of the importance and beauty of the River Eden and its catchment.

Trust Manager, Maggie Robinson says, “The Eden Rivers Festival gives us a great opportunity to highlight the reasons behind the work of the Eden Rivers Trust.  Educating people is at the heart of what we do otherwise all the conservation and research work would be in vain.”

A whole range of people is involved in the Festival, not only the partners in Discover Eden – the Eden Rivers Trust, Tullie House and the East Cumbria Countryside Project – but also a growing list of individuals and organisations.  These include local landowners, the Environment Agency, Carlisle City Council, Carlisle Angling Association, Carlisle Canoe Club, Sustrans, Cumbria Young Farmers, RSPB, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Natural England, United Utilities and the MoD.   The event has been partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with financial support also coming from many of the partner organisations.

Full details of the Gardens of Eden programme are available from Ian Gregg, Chairman of Eden Rivers Trust, on 01931 713263 and the full Festival programme will be available shortly.  Anyone interested in taking part in the Raft Race on 1 September should contact Rachel Purdon as soon as possible on 01768 866788.

The Eden Rivers Festival is all about fun on, in and beside the Eden with plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy the river.