THE annual celebration of wildflowers and nature in the Dales is underway - with more people than ever expected to join in the fun this year.

The Flowers of the Dales Festival is coordinated by the Clapham based charity, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. With the financial support of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the festival will include 125 events from now until October, all led by experts and wildflower enthusiasts from across the area.

Events will include guided walks to identify wildflowers, talks, and family friendly activities, such as visiting a farm during lambing time.

The festival, which has been going for 11 years, sets out to encourage people of all ages to discover the wonderful wildflowers of the Yorkshire Dales and to gain an understanding of the careful management required to ensure that this special place can be enjoyed by wildlife and people in years to come.

So far, more than 40,000 people have taken part in the festival, with some coming from all parts of the country.

Sarah Hodgson, festival co-ordinator for the millennium trust, said: “The Yorkshire Dales is home to a fantastic array of native flora and fauna and the festival celebrates this wide-ranging bio-diversity.

“You can take part in practical conservation and species identification days, guided walks, informative talks and family-friendly nature activities, as well as an exciting range of arts and crafts.”

Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £2 million over the last ten years for the charity, allowing it to continue to support the people, landscape and wildlife in the Dales and the surrounding areas.

Will Humpington, climate change and environmental programmes advisor at People’s Postcode Lottery, added: “Once again it is a real pleasure to support this annual Festival, which celebrates all things wild and wonderful in the Yorkshire Dales.

“Each year thousands of people take part in an exciting collection of activities inspired by the flora and fauna of this special part of the country. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the Dales and perhaps learn something new.”

Some of the activities in the festival include a printmaking day at Malham Tarn on March 30, when printmaker Hester Cox will demonstrate how to make stamps, collagraphs and monoprints. There will also be a water bug day at the tarn on April 7. Lambing time will be celebrated at Gill Garth Farm, Selside, on April 16 - a great day out for the family. To download the festival guide,

Or, to receive a printed copy of the programme, send an A5 stamped and self-addressed envelope to: Flowers of the Dales, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Main Street, Clapham, Via Lancaster, LA2 8DP.