Where: Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire
What is it?
There will be over 50 free guided walks at this year’s Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival, which takes place from Saturday 3rd May to Sunday 11th May. With the newly acquired Walkers are Welcome status, a warm welcome is guaranteed in the town to all visitors.
The festival is now in its ninth year and promises to be bigger than ever before, offering a choice of varied and rewarding walks in and around the stunning Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. From challenging all day hikes for the more experienced walker, to family friendly trails and short informative walks, this year’s Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival has something for all ages and abilities.
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 toping over 100 miles. Walkers completing the challenge will receive a certificate and woven badge for their rucksack.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, on 10th May a guided linear walk around the Gorge will visit memorials to the fallen and sites connected with both World Wars. Other 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. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the variety of wild flowers in Lodge Field under the guidance of an expert from Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Additional nature walks with information to help identify trees and birds, and an early evening ‘quiz walk’ around Coalbrookdale finishing at a local inn will also feature at the festival.
Popular tried and tested walks will 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 will be a walk taking 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 at the Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival are free, however pre-booking is essential. Well-behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on most walks but please check before booking.
More info: To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01952 433 424. Details can also be found on www.visitironbridge.co.uk/walkingfestival.