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  1. Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival – Free Guided Walks

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    Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival (Saturday 3rd – Sunday 11th May) is offering a choice of over 50 free, varied walks in and around the stunning Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, where the Industrial Revolution began over 300 years ago.

    From challenging all-day hikes for the more experienced walker to family friendly trails and short informative walks, this year’s Festival has something to whet the appetite of all ages and abilities. With the newly acquired Walkers are Welcome, status a warm welcome is guaranteed in the town.

    As well as nearly 20 new walks, the 2014 Festival will be introducing the first 100 Mile Ironbridge Challenge. Those taking part must finish seven specified walks on seven different days with the combined mileage topping over 100 miles. Walkers completing the challenge will receive a certificate and woven badge for their rucksack.

    New walks include an early evening family outing on 7th May to explore the nature and wildlife in the enchanting woods at Loamhole Dingle, Coalbrookdale with a surprise for all and an opportunity to learn about the variety of wild flowers in Lodge Field under the guidance of an expert from Shropshire Wildlife Trust. There will also be additional nature walks with information to help identify trees and birds and an early evening ‘quiz walk’ around Coalbrookdale finishing at a local inn.

    Popular tried and tested walks being repeated explore historic trails and the part played by The Gorge in the Industrial Revolution. There’s also a gentle two-hour family treasure hunt suitable for pushchair and wheelchair users, alternatively experienced walkers can join a strenuous 15 mile circular hike over the Wrekin, ideal for walkers happy with steep climbs and rough terrain.

    For those wanting to discover more about the heritage of the area there is a walk that take in the history of the river bridges and a 15 mile circular walk skirting the edge of the World Heritage Site. Three walks explore the many churches and other places of worship in and around The Gorge on 6th and 9th May.

    All walks are free however pre-booking is essential; well-behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on most walks but check before booking. To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at; details at

  2. Scotlands Best Kept Secret Exposed At New Festival

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    The Wild Lochaber Festival, to be held in the Outdoor Capital of the UK (OCUK), Fort William, will be a week-long celebration of the incredible wildlife (at sea and on land) and geology (landscapes and scenery) that can be experienced in Lochaber. Lochaber is an area of stunning natural beauty where you will find the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis; its deepest loch, Loch Morar; and the longest glen, The Great Glen.

    The region boasts a wealth of amazing wildlife rarely seen elsewhere in the UK —  red deer, golden eagle, sea eagle, osprey, pine marten,  otter, whales, dolphins, basking shark plus rare butterflies, dragonflies, orchids, alpine plants and much more. The whole of Lochaber is an internationally recognised Geopark with many of the world’s finest and most unique geological features are located here.

    The Wild Lochaber Festival inaugural event, organised by the OCUK, runs for one week from 1 June 2012 with a Festival Fair on the 2 and 3 June 2012. The Festival Fair will showcase all that is available in Lochaber’s natural environment and will provide a wealth of information relating to local biodiversity. Local organisations and tour operators who provide wildlife and landscape activities and events will be present, together with government and professional bodies.

    Organised events to be held during the Festival week are designed to show visitors and residents the best areas in Lochaber to spot wildlife and see the most interesting landscapes. Choices will include guided wildlife tours (on land and sea), walks, Geopark Rock Safaris, children’s activities and talks. Wildlife and landscape pictures taken by local schools for a photography competition will be on display and judged during the Festival. As part of the overall Wild Lochaber project, a series of self-guiding trails will be developed, with further plans to create new wildlife-watching hides.

    For more information, go to


  3. Herefordshire Walking Festival 2012

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    Nine days of 44 varied walks through the Herefordshire Countryside 16th – 24th June 2012

    Two long distance walks this year.  ‘By Canal from Ledbury to Hereford’ follows the stretch of the Hereford & Gloucester Canal within the county, along the towpath wherever possible, over farmland, tracks or minor roads.    The Hill Forts & Castles Walk has never been walked before by the general public.  Created by a Hereford Ramblers’ member, four of the sections have been researched especially for the festival and will be led over both weekends.

    Old favourites include ‘On the Black Hill’ particularly apposite this year with the general release of the film ‘Resistance’ based on the novel by Owen Sheers.  Learn about butterflies, vendettas, farming practice, geology, tree husbandry, archaeology, myth and legend.  Take the small children on a Sunday morning family wander or take yourself on a good bracing walk with wonderful views.  Enjoyment of Herefordshire food is never far away be it tea and cakes, a ploughman’s in the village local or a farmhouse supper.

    New departures include an introduction to ‘geocaching’ and a tour of a historic house plus some very surprising adventures around Symonds Yat.   ‘And Now for Some thing Completely Different’ is a treasure trail that can be walked and puzzled over on any day and at any time during the Festival by a single sleuth or a family group.  Correct answers will be entered into a draw and the winner will receive a prize!

    All walks  must be booked in advanceclick here for details

  4. Derbyshire Walking Festival

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    Autumn Walking Festival Steps Out

    Autumn Footprints’ is the annual autumn walking festival, held in the Derbyshire boroughs of Amber Valley and Erewash that provides a varied programme of walking activities, from gentle family rambles, to more strenuous hill walks for the more experienced walker. Set in the heart of picturesque Derbyshire, it will run from Saturday 10- 25 September with a range of 32 guided free walks over 16 days. The areas are well known for their natural beauty, superb scenery, industrial heritage and attractive towns and villages.

    One of the Walking Festival Co-ordinators Marion Farrell from Groundwork Derby & Derbyshire, said, “This Walking Festival is a fantastic way to see more of your local area. Each walk has two leaders – there is plenty of time to chat and admire the views. The idea behind the festival is not only to get local people to appreciate the countryside on their doorstep, but also to show visitors that you don’t have to go racing up to the Peak District to walk through beautiful countryside. Most of the walks are close to bus and train routes enabling everyone to get to the start point.”

    All the walks are free of charge, and will take place in areas of local heritage and natural history interest, taking walkers alongside rivers and canals as well as through towns and villages. The walks are of varying lengths and gradient, ranging in length from one mile to 8 miles, offering something for everyone no matter what their interests or abilities. They are all led by knowledgeable local people who are enthusiastic to show off their local patch.

    Some of the walks taking place are:

    • Amber Valley highlights include Round about Alfreton (5 miles) and Explore the Highlands of Amber Valley (strenuous walk, 7 miles).
    • Erewash highlights include The Lewis Wilson Memorial Walk and Top O’ Stanley (6 miles).

    A comprehensive guide detailing all the walks and events is available free of charge from Groundwork Derby & Derbyshire, tel. 01773 535232, or log onto to download the full leaflet.


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