It may seem strange to be writing about Walking Festivals in September, but with a number of events being held nationwide this month, its not quite time for you put your boots away just yet!
Walking Festivals are an excellent way for people to get involved in walking, test equipment, meet fellow walkers and build up life long friendships.
Walking Festivals differ in size and duration and will offer a range of walks and tours for differing levels of walkers, all festivals should offer guided walks or walking tours, so they are ideal for inexperienced walkers and will allow you to practice your navigation skills in the care of experienced group leaders. For the more adventurous some festivals offer unguided walks. Please note different events have different booking procedures, some are turn up on the day others are book in advance so I have included links to organisers.
General Guidelines for Walking
Walking Festivals will have their own guidelines and it is your responsibility to ensure that you know them, some general tips are:
- Make sure the routes you go on suit your experience and level of fitness.
- Use an Ordnance Survey map. You may also need a compass.
- Wear suitable attire, walking boots/shoes and bring waterproofs jackets and trousers.
- Make sure people know where you are planning to walk, your estimated time of arrival and contact them when reach you destination.
- If you allowed to take you dog make sure they are under your control at all times.
- If going out on a longer walk take some refreshments.
- Take your litter home
UK Walking Events in September
1. Wales Valleys Walking Festival
This is the fifth time this festival has been staged and all walks are free of charge although they need to be booked three days in advance.
Situated in the valleys to the North of Cardiff in South Wales, the festival offers walkers the chance to see spectacular views of the Vale Of Glamorgan, glimpse into Britain’s industrial history with walks and tours of early industrial sites as well as looking at further back, such as Norman Castles and Prehistoric Burial Mounds. For those more nature orientated there are a number of wildlife and country side management walks, and on the 6th September a sponsored walk for Breast Cancer research.
2. Bedfordshire Walking Festival
05 – 13 September:
This is the first “walking” of this festival, which has over 60 walks that are primarily aimed at people who enjoy easy to moderate walks, walk for health or are new to walking. For lovers of severe walks do not despair as their is a 40 mile 3 day ramble for you. Bedfordshire is a small county with a varied landscape, including woodland and chalk hills. There are also many interesting towns and villages.
Walks are free, although you can make a donation if you want to. All walks are lead by local volunteers who are members of the Ramblers Association.
3. Pendle Walking Festival
05 – 13 September:
The Pendle walking festival has over 80 free guided walks from easy to challenging. They include the Pendle Witches Walk and the Pendle Three Peaks Challenge and new for 2009 the 45 mile Pendle Way over four days. My particular favourite walks in this festival are the pub to pub walks.
Pendle situated in between Manchester and Leeds and in its own right is a stunning area, being located within easy distance of the Lake District and Bronte Country, it is often forgotten. But a visit to the area will soon have you wanting to go back as there are many country walks and activities.
4. South Pennines “Walk & Ride” Festival
12 – 27 September:
This is the second staging of this event and it has over 100 activities that range from walks, info walks, cycle trails and horse riding straddling the Yorkshire/Lancashire border.
Most events are free of charge and do not require advance booking, however due to the size of the event you will need to make sure of this yourself, by consulting the website. Activities take place across the South Pennines from Rochdale to Otley and for a small taste there is a historic pub tour of Rochdale, An exploration of witchcraft in the Pendle Hills and tours of Bronte Country (Howarth). With easy access to the areas involved if you are stuck for something to do in September this is ideal.
5. Coniston Walking Festival
25 – 27 September:
This three day festival is based around Coniston and has a number of walks, pony treks, lectures and films. Check out the website for prices and booking.
The festival has guided walks lead by Leo Holding and Rebecca Stevens, which will be enjoyable and informative. Rebecca Stevens is also giving a lecture on her adventures being the first British woman to climb Everest as well as being the first British woman to climb the highest mountain on each continent.
Visit The Coniston Walking Festival Site
6. Kielder Walking Festival
05 – 13 September:
This is second time this event has been staged and operates in Kielder Water & Forest Park, located between Newcastle and Carlisle on the England/Scotland Border. Kielder Water & Forest Park is the largest man made water and forest park in Northern Europe. There are a number of guided tours and unguided walks of different length and severity. Make sure that you are well prepared especially as petrol is not available within the park.
The park also features plenty of other activities that can be enjoyed by all, such as wildlife, including a family of Ospreys an observatory, horse riding.
Visit the Kielder Water & Forest Park Site
7. Scottish Borders Walking Festival
05 – 13 September:
This festival has over 60 walks ranging from easy to strenuous with many other social events based around Jedburgh and Hawick. Be warned you four legged friend is not allowed on any of the walks and there may be charges for walks and activities.
This aim of this years festival is to take you back in history along famous reiving routes and will fill you with stories of the conflicts that for three hundred years made the borders almost lawless.
With workshops on Nordic and Fire Walking, a musical on reiving, treasure hunts and candle light walks through Jedburgh this festival will appeal to the all.
Visit The Scottish Borders Walking Festival Site
The Location Of Festivals And In September
This List Is Not Exhaustive
By no means is the above list detailing every event in September, your local walking association, council or tourist information will have information as to events close to you. If you know of any events please submit a comment with the walking event and links and we will post it for you.
In the meantime, Happy Walking!