27 walking holidays! Our guide to UK walking festivals this summer and autumn
Although we tend to pack Inappropriate Heels when tottering off on our outdoor hols (and that’s just the Pitchup.com men), we’ll usually be found with walking boots crammed into the rucksack too.
Our love of the striding is such that we have a special category just for sites in a walkers’ paradise, we implore Tolkien fans to hike the Pennines in furry slippers with nowt but cream crackers for sustenance and we have chivvied people out and about in winter (it helps offset the effects of this ).
If you’re up for a walking holiday this summer or autumn, we've listed 22 walking festivals below and have included info on them and walking events for the rest of 2014. But to get the blog off on the right foot we’ve picked five of our faves first up:
Guildford WalkFest , until 27 July
Already on the move and running until the end of next week, this is the eighth year of Guildford WalkFest’s range of free walks in and around the Surrey Hills AONB. The 38 walks cover all abilities with two each day and three per day on weekends, and all abilities of walkers should find something to lace the boots up for; the shortest walk is a half-mile stroll around Guildford and there’s one walk suitable for people of limited ability.
Stay at Long Acres Caravan and Camping Park , where there are lots of opps for additional walks in the surrounding countryside and where dogs are welcome too. Long Acres is at Lingfield which has several other established walking trails including an 11-mile trek across the Low Weald to Oxted . Pitches start from £14.50.
Black Combe Western Lake District Walking Festival , 18 – 24 August
The fell of Black Combe is on the western edge of the Lake District and the west coast of Cumbria where the national park meets the sea. Wander on seven days’ worth of walks around Millom, Haverigg, Duddon Valley and Eskdale, including hikes to the summit of Black Combe, coastal walks and nature trails, and walks for all ages and abilities.
Stay at Silecroft Caravan Park , three miles from Millom in the south-west corner of Lake District National Park and 200 metres from a sandy beach; your tootsies might also like to sink into the on-site Jacuzzi after a day on the fell. Electric touring pitches are available throughout the festival from £25 a night. Tent trekkers can pitch up at Moss Side Farm Camping at nearby Broughton-in-Furness, which has non-electric tent pitches in August from £12 a night.
Corwen Walking Festival , 30 – 31 August
Even the less energetic might manage this festival of two days in the Clwydian and Dee Valley AONB, especially as there are other events on hand including skills lectures in the day and entertainment in the evening. Sturdy sorts can do a full day walk but there are several shorter walks available on both days including a Corwen town history walk, high level ridge walk around Berwyn and one to Corwen’s seventeenth century Rug Chapel (all walks are free but the chapel has an admission charge of £3.40 per adult).
Stay very close by at Hendwr Caravan Park , a working farm on the edge of Corwen and at the foot of the Berwyn Mountains, with grass and hardstanding pitches with optional electric starting from £18 – 21 a night. You can order a newspaper in advance for Sunday brekkie and the park has a stream running through it for fishing and dabbling tired feet.
Pendle Walking Festival , 30 August – 7 September
We like Pendle . And we’re quite fond of the Pendle Walking Festival too, the biggest free walking festival in the UK and this year celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Forest of Bowland AONB.
The seventy walks in this year’s festival include the country’s newest long distance walking trail in the Lancashire Witches Walk, a circular walk around Pendle Hill, an easy mile and a half ghost walk and a walk around the Pendle Sculpture Trail. Download the programme here [pdf].
Stay 16 miles away at Preston’s Beacon Fell View with views over the Ribble Valley, a heated indoor pool, family bar and adults-only lounge bar. Its three-bedroom Boland caravan is available for a week from 30 August from £455 for up to eight people.
Less than ten miles from Pendle at West Yorkshire’s Haworth, Stones Cottage Farm has non-electric tent pitches for campers without cars from £12 a night and standard non-electric pitches from £15.
Scottish Borders Walking Festival , 31 August – 6 September
Tsk to a clash with witch walks in Pendle, but if you’d prefer to go a little further north, the Scottish Borders Walking Festival is the biggest in Scotland and has its twentieth birthday this year. It’s hosted this year by Jedburgh and Denholm and has four or five walks a day of varying lengths and abilities, from £4 – 8 each, and entertainment laid on the evening.
Stay 14 miles away in a Northumberland camping pod at dog-friendly Border Forest Caravan Park in Otterburn, which has Kunekune pigs, Shetland ponies and direct access from its bridge over the burn to Kielder Forest and Pennine Way for more walkies. Pods are available throughout the festival from £35 a night; dogs are allowed.
22 more walking festivals
Kielder Challenge Walk , 13 September, Northumberland
Bedfordshire Walking Festival , 6 – 14 September, Bedfordshire
South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival , 6 – 21 September
Amber Valley and Erewash Walking Festival (Autumn Footprints) , 13 – 28 September, Derbyshire
Seven Wonders of the Oswestry Hills (fundraising walk for Shropshire Wildlife Trust) , 16 September, Shropshire
Ross-on-Wye Walking Festival , 26 – 28 September, Herefordshire
Pickering Walking Festival , 26 – 28 September, North Yorkshire
North Pennines Walking Festival , 27 September – 5 October