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The third annual Chesterfield Walking Festival will be taking place from the 20th – 28th of June 2009.

Located in south Derbyshire, Chesterfield is the border country where the Peak District meets Robin Hood Country. With rolling hills and market towns there is plenty of beautiful countryside scenery in this part of England. It is a perfect for area for walking, which is just as well since no less than 40 organised walks will be taking place during the week long Chesterfield walking festival.

Chesterfield and Surrounding Countryside. Source Flickr by Johns Pics

Chesterfield and Surrounding Countryside. Source Flickr by John's Pics


Cllr Ray Russell, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council said:

“The Walking Festival is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to discover some of the most beautiful places in the countryside of North East Derbyshire and learn about our local heritage. Chesterfield is ideally located to accommodate visitors coming to the Festival and we welcome everyone who wishes to take part in the walks, cycle runs and lectures.”

The festival is not just about walking. All of the organised walks will be led by a guide who will provide a wealth of local information and historical facts will keep all of those walking entertained, educated and amused.

Highlights of the Chesterfield Walking Festival

Chesterfields Famous Crooked Spire.

Chesterfield's Famous Crooked Spire. Source: Flickr by cloudsoup.

On the 21st of June you can take part in the ‘Longest Walk on the Longest Day’. This is a 34-mile route around the historic town of Chesterfield and the Church of Saint Mary and All Saints with its famous Crooked Spire. For those who do not wish to walk quite so far there is a choice of 8, 16 or 24 mile routes – something to suit all walkers!

2009 sees the introduction of audio trails to the Chesterfield walking festival. The audio trails can be downloaded free from the internet and will guide you through Chesterfield town centre and Ashover village.

Walking, Cycling and Boating

The festival will also feature 3 cycle rides, including an evening ride and country trail ride.

On 25th June there will be a four-mile route with a walk and then a boat cruise along the recently restored Chesterfield Canal. The ‘Boats and Boots’ event will take in the pathways of Brimington Common and Tapton.

Chesterfield Walking Festival Programme

For full details of the festival, including information about individual walk, times, venues and charges, please contact Chesterfield Tourist Information Centre (Tel: 01246 345777/8, e-mail: tourism@chesterfield.gov.uk).

Most of the walks are free of charge, although there is a charge of up to £4 per person for certain walks. Places are limited, so it is advisable to get a ticket in advance.

Places of Interest Near Chesterfield

Whilst out walking there are many interesting man-made features that can be seen in the countryside around Chesterfield. Three of the most famous are described briefly below.

Bolsover Castle

There has been a castle on the site of Bolsover from shortly after the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD. In 1612 Sir Charles Cavendish bought the castle and converted it into a retreat for elegant living.

Sir Charles’ son William, later Duke of Newcastle, inherited Bolsover Castle in 1616 and continued to improve it. He built the stately rooms called the Terrace Range and an enormous indoor Riding House.

Bolsover Castle as seen from Sutton Scarsdale.

Bolsover Castle as seen from Sutton Scarsdale. Source Flickr by onemananhisdogs.

Sutton Scarsdale Hall

Built by the Earl of Scarsdale in the eighteenth century, Sutton Scarsdale Hall passed on to the son of cotton-spinning pioneer Sir Richard Arkwright in 1820. In 1919 it was bought by a property speculator and was subsequently stripped and gutted. It is now owned by English Heritage and still contains many interesting things to see.

Chesterfield Canal

With a total length of 46 miles, Chesterfield Canal connects Chesterfield with the River Trent. It was built by the famous engineer James Brindley between 1771 and 1777. The most famous cargo transported on the Chesterfield canal was the stone that was used to build the Houses of Parliament.

When commercial traffic stopped in 1962 the canal began to fall into disrepair. In 1968, 26 miles of the canal were maintained for recreational use under Transportation Act and in 1976 the Chesterfield Canal Society (CCS) was established to restore the remainder of the canal.

Chesterfield canal is an ideal place for walking, where pleasant tranquillity can be found strolling along the towpath.

Not Just Chesterfield…

Chesterfield is not the only place which holds annual walking festivals. Wherever you are in the UK, you can be sure that there will be a walking festival held near you. For example, the UK’s largest is the Isle of Wight Walking Festival.

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