Are you planning a walking holiday? You could plan one around a ‘Walking Festival’.
This sort of walking holiday has various added bonuses. They present opportunities to meet ‘kindred spirits’ – others who like to walk; to learn more about the countryside; there are social events to entertain and talks to enjoy. Festivals are a good way to introduce children to walking, especially as festivals generally include family walks especially designed for children.
Even if you usually walk only as a family unit or by yourself (like me) it’s likely to be rewarding to occasionally share your walking experience and a festival might be a good idea if you are new to walking and uncertain about where to go. Below are some festivals which take place every year.
Crickhowell Walking Festival
This festival takes place at end of February/beginning of March. There are 73 guided walks over 9 days. The festival is situated in the eastern area of the Brecon Beacons National Park
One of the walks is the ‘Fan Dance’. It’s led by RAF trainers and so tough it’s used as part of the selection process for the SAS! This one’s obviously not for the faint-hearted (nor faint-footed). You could opt instead for a stroll, led by the gillie, around Glanusk Estate. Or, take in an early music in the ancient Patricio church, walk over the hills with the singers to the ruins of Llanthony Priory where the performance continues. This festival caters for all ages and abilities.
The Haltwhistle Spring Walking Festival takes place in the ‘wilds of Northumberland’ (and I know all about these wilds as I was born and bred in the county) during the first week of May. Walks take in Hadrian’s Wall Country, the Northumberland National Park and the North Pennines (designated Area of Outstanding Beauty).
Walks planned for the 2011 festival take in moorland, peat bogs and mires, walls (as in Hadrian’s), hidden lakes, rocky crags, riverbank pathways and the Pennine Way; and all to the sounds of curlew and lapwing. There’s a good chance you’ll spot a ground nesting bird (such as a Mallard).
The Chiltern Society organises walks and events from April to October each year. (The entire 2010 walking season was designated a walking festival to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Chiltern Way).
“The Chiltern Way is a circular walking route of around 200 km (125 miles) and there are now three optional extensions taking the total route to a maximum of 278 km (172 miles). It is a wandering, varied and mostly rural way stretching around the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and passing through many pretty Chiltern villages”.
Some of the events organised by the Chiltern Society are ‘workdays’ (more correctly, half days). One such is at the Ewelme Watercress Beds. Workdays happen on the first Saturday and the third Wednesday of each month. If you fancy volunteering contact the Chiltern Society office on 01494 771250.
A moderate level walk starts out at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre and ends up 7 miles later in the village of Strefford, taking in, along the way, a meander through meadows that follow the River Onny and then past the Wenlock Edge escarpment.
For more walking festivals, visit: http://www.walkingontheweb.co.uk/html/Walking_Festivals.htm