Great Stour Riverfest returns with activities galore to enjoy

Canterbury’s Great Stour Riverfest returns to the city this September and a packed line up of activities is already taking shape for the event’s second year.

The festival, which celebrates this great ecological, historical and cultural asset, runs from Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 September and is organised by the city council in partnership with many local community organisations.

It is bookended with a single day open-air fair in the Westgate Gardens kicking things off, and the Canterbury Rotary Club’s annual duck race bringing it to a conclusion on what will also be World Rivers Day 2024.

In between there will be a week of free Stour-related events for the whole community to get involved in. These include:

  • Children’s art competition with prizes, led by The Riverfest Committee
  • River clean ups – for experienced river dwellers only!
  • Evening of nature talks at Canterbury Methodist Church, led by the Canterbury Biodiversity Network
  • Bat and insect walks, led by Shirley Thomson at Kent Bat Group and Dick Vane-Wright
  • River dipping, led by Lauren Baker from Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership (KSCP)
  • Ecology and botany walk, led by the council and KSCP
  • Interfaith rivers walk from Westgate Gardens to Hambrook Marshes, led by Richard Norman from the Interfaith Group

More events are set to be announced and booking will be required for some activities as numbers will be limited. More information and booking details are on the Great Stour Riverfest Eventbrite page.

The council’s Cabinet member for biodiversity and open spaces, Cllr Mel Dawkins, said: “I am delighted the Great Stour Riverfest is back for a second time because last year’s festival was fantastic and so well received by local people.

“The 2024 version promises a similarly packed programme of activities, with plenty for people of all ages to enjoy, and I am really looking forward to it. Please put the dates in your diaries now!

“Great Stour Riverfest would not be possible without the involvement of so many people and groups from within our community, all coming together to put on this celebration of our wonderful river and demonstrating their passion for promoting and protecting one of our greatest assets.

“This is so brilliant to see and I thank everyone who is playing a part in making it happen.”

The brilliant photo at the top of this page was taken by John Pring. John won the overall prize in the Great Stour Riverfest 2023 photographic competition, which celebrated the river and its wildlife.

Published: 9 July 2024

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