Four unmissable events in Devon this August

PUBLISHED: 11:02 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:02 07 July 2020

Dartmoor can be explored with expert guides during the Dartmoor Walking Festival. PICTURE: MOORLAND GUIDES

Dartmoor can be explored with expert guides during the Dartmoor Walking Festival. PICTURE: MOORLAND GUIDES


Don’t miss live performances by Jimmy Carr, outdoor cinema, gig racing and a much-loved walking festival

Blackpool Sands is a stunning setting for outdoor screenings. PICTURE: OPEN AIR CINEMABlackpool Sands is a stunning setting for outdoor screenings. PICTURE: OPEN AIR CINEMA


Even during the coronavirus pandemic, we were all encouraged to get out in the fresh air and undertake some exercise. And so it is that the Dartmoor Walking Festival is preparing for this year’s event from 22-30 August. Organisers Moorland Guides, who held the first festival in 2016, say they are vigilant to changes in social distancing rules and are prepared to make changes to the anticipated programme in respect of dates, events and numbers of walkers.

They want everyone to stay healthy and well, and enjoy the moors and the outdoors while adhering to government guidelines. The event has the support of Dartmoor National Park with ranger-led walks as well as archaeological visits and events and the backing of those who live and work on Dartmoor within the Dartmoor Commoner’s Council.

The aim is to have at least four events each day during the nine-day festival, so there really is something for everybody, with evening talks and walks included. The Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team is also supporting the week and you can join them on an evening exercise to see how they search for missing walkers in the dark.

Historic North Devon village Clovelly has re-opened to visitors. PICTURE: CLOVELLYHistoric North Devon village Clovelly has re-opened to visitors. PICTURE: CLOVELLY

For the last two years, the festival has worked with National Disabled Ramblers and that will happen again this year. The chosen charity for 2020 is again the Devon Air Ambulance.


The timing is perfect for open air and drive-in cinema screenings with LED technology allowing new company Open Air Cinema UK , based in Plymouth, to offer screenings during the daytime which opens up the experience to families too.

Jimmy Carr plays Plymouth Pavilions. PICTURE: PLYMOUTH PAVILIONSJimmy Carr plays Plymouth Pavilions. PICTURE: PLYMOUTH PAVILIONS

In August the company is screening films in Devon and Cornwall, including Blackpool Sands near Dartmouth, Powderham Castle near Exeter and Dartmoor Zoo.

You can bring your own chair and a picnic, although there will be food and drink available and VIP tickets include a chair. Afternoon screenings will offer something for families with other films in the evenings.

At Powderham Castle, the films include the 2019 remake of The Lion King, the Oscar-winning A Star is Born (both 7 August); Coco and The Greatest Showman (25 August). At Blackpool Sands you can see Disney’s Moana and Yesterday, packed with Beatles hits, on 9 August and The Greatest Showman and Jaws (20 August). Dartmoor Zoo near Sparkwell will show Aladdin (21 August), The Lion King (31 July) and Tarzan (14 August).


The historic North Devon village of Clovelly was closed to visitors during the coronavirus pandemic in order to look after residents. But when lockdown eased in July it was the chance for this unique location to again welcome visitors and resume a busy programme of events.

There’s a varied food and drink offering at Clovelly, and a small cinema and visitor centre which helps you discover the history of what was once a thriving fishing port.

The sea is at the heart of many of the events at Clovelly, including the popular Gig Regatta in August.

The first record of a pilot gig is in 1666 when an open rowing boat was was used to help rescue the crew of a stricken ship in heavy seas off the Cornish coast.

These were the real workhorses in the 18th and 19th century in the highly competitive world of professional pilotage. Individual pilots would race to get to the ships needing help, with the first to arrive getting the job and the payment. While they are not used in this way anymore, the element of competition remains with crews racing pilot gigs for fun.  Gig racing is exciting and strenuous, with crews reaching speeds of nine knots in North Devon’s powerful tidal waters. 

The Clovelly Gig Regatta is planned for 29 August. Normal admission to Clovelly applies. Details online at


Jimmy Carr brings his new show Terribly Funny to the Princess Theatre in Torquay on 31 August. The show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love. But they’re just jokes - they are not the terrible things.

“Having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo,” says Jimmy. He will certainly have plenty of material following the coronavirus.

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