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Typically known as a method of attracting earthworms from the ground, the activity of ‘worm charming’ is usually undertaken to collect bait for fishing. Less frequently however, it takes the form of a competitive sport, proving popular among those that can’t resist the challenge of teasing a little wriggler out of the ground. If you have vivid childhood memories of digging for worms and fancy some earthy nostalgia, then you’re in luck, because South Devon is home to the International Festival of Worm Charming.

The Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming

South Devon’s worm charming community will be working hard to draw earthworms to the surface on 5th May 2019, competing in the 35th Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming. Worms aside, the festival also hosts a dog show, a performance from the local school, 5-a-side football, donkey rides, a beer festival and a full afternoon of live music!

International worm charming festival


There is a fancy dress theme too…

Regardless of whether you’re entering a team into this year’s event, or spectating, you’re encouraged to celebrate in true worm charming tradition by dressing up in a fun costume. This year – to commemorate 100 years since the founding of GCHQ and 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall – it’s “Spies”. So, don your black coat and hat, dark glasses and weapon of choice (or some other guise entirely) and join the fun!

View the full programme of events


Europe’s most unmissable festival

Voted “Europe’s Most Unmissable Festival”, Blackawton’s worm heritage started back in 1983, when a couple of locals (after one too many craft ales in the local pub!), noticed that worms started coming to the surface after relieving themselves in a nearby field. Upon realising that there may be some mileage in their apparent ability to charm worms out of the ground, the Blackawton Festival of Worm Charming was born.

The 2019 Blackawton Annual Wormcharming Festival is going Carbon Neutral. They are offsetting any CO2 created from hosting the festival, including CO2 from the food eaten, electricity used and miles driven to host the festival. Hosting the event will create approximately 2.5 tons of CO2 and they are offsetting this by planting enough trees to absorb the emissions created.

In addition, at the free car park there will be an opportunity for visitors to make a financial contribution to offset their CO2 from their journey to and from the event if they wish to.


Have your heart set on becoming the next international worm charming champion? Head to South Devon this May, where you will find a wealth of wild and wonderful events taking place. For a full roundup of events that all the family can enjoy, read our article on special events for the May half term in South Devon

There are plenty of other exciting activities to enjoy in our region, so for further suggestions take a look at festivals in Devon for all ages.

Book your South Devon holiday now