At the end of June, a number of nature organisations joined together to create the very first Manchester Festival of Nature. Held in Heaton Park, the festival celebrated Manchester’s wonderful wildlife and featured the Bogtastic Van, offering an interactive experience of life on the moors.  

Boy dressed as bumblebee at the Bogtastic Van at Manchester Festival of Nature

Oliver James Turner enjoys the Bogtastic Van fancy dress selection, dressing as a 'Billy the Bumblebee' at Manchester Festival of Nature

A wild success, the event drew a 7000-strong crowd that was interested in discovering and caring for the plants and creatures living right on their doorstep in the South Pennine and Peak District moors. As part of an array of enchanting activities, our Bogtastic Van introduced children and adults alike to the fascinating moorland habitats that are just a stone’s throw from Manchester City Centre. Funded as part of the MoorLIFE 2020 project, the Bogtastic Van offers a unique opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and textures of the moors.

A free festival, Manchester Festival of Nature offered something enchanting for all ages, from the very young to the young at heart. The festival was a hive of activity, featuring everything from bushcraft, nature trails, performances, treasure hunts and sphagnum identification to un-bee-lievable record-breaking attempts. In a bid to break the world record of the number of people dressed up as bumblebees, there were over 500 ‘bumblebees’ in attendance that were marked with a procession – drawing attention to the dangerous declining numbers of bees and other pollinators in the past few decades. For additional videos and photos of the day, please take a look at the dedicated MFoN twitter page

#MFoN Committee Chair, Alan Wright said: "The turnout on the day was amazing with streams and streams of people visiting the Market of Nature. We did not break the bee record but for 500 people and two dogs to dress as bees on a roasting hot day was wonderful. Hopefully, everyone who attended will have gone home realising that we have some pretty special wildlife in Manchester, pledging their support in protecting that nature for the future."

The innovative nature festival joined together key organisations including Lancashire Wildlife TrustCheshire Wildlife Trust, RSPB, National Trust, City of Trees, The Conservation Volunteers, Royal Horticultural Society, Canal & River Trust, Let’s Ride North West, Action for Conservation, Sustrans, Chester Zoo, Manchester Museum, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester City Council, Heaton Park and a strong team of volunteers. Following its debut success, Manchester Festival of Nature is looking to be bigger and bolder next year, and the Partnership looks forward to supporting Manchester’s ever-growing interest in its surrounding wildlife, their moorland habitat and the peat bogs that underpin the moors.