The annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival “comes of age” in May, with walkers of all ages and abilities invited to set-off across the Island on a wide choice of themed walks.
The 21stannual Festival will once again 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.
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 remains one of the most popular events of its kind in the whole of the UK.
Set to run from May 4 to 19 in 2019, including one of the May Bank Holiday weekends, the Festival – sponsored by Warner Leisure Hotels – 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.
More than half of this year’s walks are also “new for 2019”, with a series of Victorian themed walks being offered to coincide with the fact that this year will mark the 200thanniversary of the birth of one of the Island’s best-known summer residents, Queen Victoria (https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/2019/01/victorian-themed-walks/).
Other walks that “hit the right note” this year include “Bob Dylan at Wootton” on May 9, marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1969 Isle of Wight “Dylan” Festival
(https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/walks/bob-dylan-woottons-musical-landmarks/); and “Robby’s Ramble” on May 16, led by local celebrity and walk leader Rob da Bank offering n a family friendly walk from the quaint village of Shalfleet (https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/walks/robbys-ramble/).
For hardy walkers, the “Isle of Wight Challenge” starting on Saturday May 4 takes-in 66 miles, over three days (https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/walks/isle-wight-challenge-full-circuit-island/).
And for families, there are “Seaside Story Walks” on May 4, 5 and 8; “Quick Stop in Quarr”, which involves feeding the abbey’s pigs on Tuesday May 7; and “The Flat Walk” – an 8-mile walk from Sandown to Shide on Sunday May 12
Springtime walks, meanwhile, include an “International Dawn Chorus Walk” on Sunday May 5(starting at 5am); “Springtime Wildlife” on May 13; and “Walking and Foraging for Wild Food” on May 18.
The complete walks directory can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2DRRFcM.
And further details can be found at https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk