The annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival, hosted by Visit Isle of Wight, is one of the longest running events of its kind in the UK, with walkers of all ages and abilities able to set-off across the Island on a huge range of themed walks.
For the past 22 years, the Isle of Wight has been able to take full advantage of the fact that more than half of the Island has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and boasts not only 60-miles of Heritage Coastline but also 500 miles of well-maintained and signposted footpaths. Not to mention…an entire landscape granted UNESCO Bisosphere Reserve Status in 2019.
Add to that a selection of carefully planned and cleverly themed walks, and an online reservation system for booking places on them, and it’s easy to see why the Isle of Wight Walking Festival has become such a popular way of exploring the great outdoors in the Spring.
Set to run from May 2 to 17 in 2020 (including the May Bank Holiday weekend of Friday May 8-Sunday 10), the Festival gives walkers the chance to get up-close-and-personal with the best of the Island’s stunning scenery. Most of the walks are free, although some walk leaders request a donation for their chosen charity.
New for 2020, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery, a series of this year’s walks will celebrate the wonderful rivers and wetlands of the Eastern Wight. The guided walks will encompass the whole of the Yar River Trail (as four circular walks) as well as Wroxall Stream and Scotchells Brook (also as circular walks). For intrepid walkers who complete the whole of the Yar River Trail (now featured in three new leaflets), a free limited-edition t-shirt and certificate will be awarded. Booking for this is essential. https://bit.ly/2vm6ti4.
The Isle of Wight Walking Festival has once again put its best foot forward, to launch an array of new walks for 2020 – and was able to proudly announce recently that it will have 20 new walk leaders and 45 new walks for the 22nd edition of the event.
Families looking for some family fun walks can join ‘Gift to Nature’, and try-out the newly designed Geocaching trail at Golden Hill Country Park. Or, join storyteller Sue Bailey, who is set to return with more adventures around the Island including a new sock hunt and a moon walk.
And for those looking to brush up their associated walking skills, the 2020 Isle of Wight Festival will this year also introduce one of the Ramblers Roadshows to the Island, on the first day of the festival. Usually only open to members, this is an excellent opportunity for both walk leaders and walkers to swat up on their navigational skills, footpath laws and first aid amongst other things.
Walk the Wight with Mountbatten on May 10, meanwhile, supported by Visit Isle of Wight, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year; and there are four different walks/routes to choose from: The Original Epic cross-Island walk of 26 miles from Bembridge in the east to Alum Bay in the west; First Half 12.5 miles from sleepy Bembridge across rolling down land and finishing at historic Carisbrooke Castle; Second Half 14 miles from historic Carisbrooke Castle, down the Tennyson Trail through pretty Freshwater Bay and up to the Tennyson Monument, with a decent into Alum Bay and spectacular view of The Needles; and Flat Walk 8 miles along the cycle track from Sandown to Shide.
Full details about the Festival can be found at https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk.
A link to the complete walks directory can be found at https://bit.ly/36y3dgm.