When: 1st – 10th May 2015
Where: Ironbridge, Shropshire
£: Free but booking is essential
What is it?
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival will take place from Friday 1st to Sunday 10th May. The festival offers 10 days of free, varied and rewarding walks in and around Telford’s stunning Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, where the Industrial Revolution began over 300 years ago.
From challenging all day hikes for the brave hearted, to family friendly trails and short informative walks, this year’s festival promises to have something to whet the appetite of all ages and abilities. With the area’s Walkers are Welcome status, a warm welcome is guaranteed.
The programme of over 50 graded outings is split into two parts; themed walks that are mostly under five miles, and long hikes, which are more suitable for regular and experienced walkers.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the 100 Mile Challenge series of walks led by Graham Burgess will feature 10 new outings of 10 miles each. The walks will start at 10am over the 10 days, to offer a variety of wonderful views of the gorge from all directions. Long distance walkers will also have an opportunity to cover 50 miles in three days over the bank holiday weekend.
New outings include a linear, nine mile walk from the Ironbridge Tollhouse to Bridgnorth, following the route of the former railway; and a shorter three-mile route, discovering the significance of lime for industry. Another new walk will visit the locations of some well-known 18th and 19th paintings, and vantage points used by early photographers. This walk will be under the guidance of John Powell, former Librarian and Information Officer at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Two walks led by Neal Rushton will give a fascinating insight into the problems of subsidence in the gorge and the current stabilisation work.
Walkers can also explore the mining sites of Broseley and Benthall, and find out more about the mining tragedy of the Nine Men of Madeley, or just enjoy the countryside that has reclaimed this previously industrialised area. There will be the chance to meet the Gruffalo in Loamhole Dingle, and try a gentle two-hour family treasure hunt, suitable for pushchair and wheelchair users.
All walks are free, however pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited. Well behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on some walks, but visitors should check before booking.
More info: visitironbridge.co.uk/walkingfestival