National park launches family walking festival
A new walking festival in the UK is aimed at encouraging all ages,especially families, to get out into the countryside. The four-day WalkFest 2015 will take place in the North York Moors National Park from May 22 to May 25 and promises a host of walks with themes ranging from afternoon tea to history, poetry, art and wildlife photography.
The event is part of a five-year drive by the National Park Authority to increase visitor numbers, and in particular walkers, by 1.6 million before 2017.
The inaugural festival will feature 20 walks, including a 3.5-mile walk along part of George Stephenson’s original 1836 railway line from Goathland to Grosmont and a stroll that discovers fairies, castles and folklore.
Alongside walks guided by experts in their field, the programme includes navigation workshops, geocaching and self-led trails.
A festival spokesman said: “The park has long run a successful programme of walks throughout the year and, of course, is hugely popular with independent walkers.
“We’re thrilled with the line-up for our first ever walking festival. There really is something for everyone and most walks are designed to be extremely family-friendly.”
New steps for walking festival
The festival will start with a leisurely climb to the summit of Roseberry Topping (1,049ft ). There will be a picnic lunch along the ay and a family-style map reading and compass skills session, which will be put to the test with an orienteering challenge.
Arts-themed walks will include a watercolour painting session under the guidance of artist Peter Reynolds at Beggar’s Bridge, beside the River Esk, as well as a beach art workshop at Robin Hood's Bay and another stroll in the Esk Valley looking at the work of dialect poet John Castillo.
Highlights of the festival for historians will include a five-mile trek across the ancient Wade’s Causeway, which stretches across Wheeldale Moor, near Goathland, and an hour’s stroll at Robin Hood's Bay examining the hiding places and secret passages used by smugglers in the 18th century.
The festival's organisers will provide GPS units for a geocaching treasure hunt and will hold a drop-in animal tracks challenge at The Moors National Park Centre at Danby throughout the weekend.
Many of the walks include refreshments and places cost from £2.50.
See WalkFest 2015
Take more walking steps on the North Yorks Moor
If the WalkFest has inspired you to walk further and discover more in the beautiful North Yorks Moor National Park why not take a look at these two self-guided long-distance Macs Adventure walking tours?
The eight-day Inn Way to the North Yorks Moor
walking holiday takes you on a fantastically scenic circuit from Helmsley to Helmsley. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Way
skirts the edge of North Yorks Moor National Park and offers 110 miles of fabulous walking along coastline and through moorlands.
See more long-distance walks
in the North Yorks National Park.
Tell us about your favourite walking festival.