Best feet forward for annual walking festival
By David Wood
Where: Dursley and surrounding area
When: Wednesday, October 2, to Sunday, October 6
The eighth Dursley Walking Festival gets underway this week and this year organisers have some new ideas and activities as well as typical country walking to suit a range of abilities and interests.
The festival covers Dursley, Cam, Uley, Owlpen, Coaley, Berkeley, North Nibley, Kingscote, Slimbridge and Cambridge.
Good use of public transport is made on some walks and for some walks the numbers are restricted and places have to be pre-booked.
Walks are free of charge but there will be costs for walks which involve public transport and/or entry to specific venues e.g. Slimbridge WWT and Woodchester Mansion.
New walks this year include Walk and Draw Art Walk, 'Exploring the Past + Spinning and Weaving Workshop for children of Primary School age, bookings required for this activity.
Another new walk for families is being arranged by the 1st Dursley Scout Group and a new route has been devised for the family Treasure Trail. Entry forms are already available and the competition will run through to October 6th.
Organisers are also pleased to say that we have another new walk entitled "5 Churches Walk" which will link the benefice churches of St James and St Mark's in Dursley, St Giles in Uley, Holy Cross in Owlpen and St Bartholomew's in Nympsfield with refreshments served in Nympsfield at the end of the walk. Free return transport to Dursley will be available.
Previous favourites of the Festival will again be included including: Cam and the Winterbothams, Cam's Historic Graveyards, Dursley Heritage Walks, The Dursley Lions Dog walk, Dursley Heritage Walks, an Ornithological Ramble, Apple Scrumping, Geological interest day walk and several other walks of varying lengths including the Wessex Wanderer walks from the Cam and Dursley railway station.
These were new for last year but that day unfortunately became the wettest day of any of the festivals. Despite the weather the walks were enjoyed by those who turned up, thanks to the commitment of the walk leaders and so the walks are being repeated again this year giving the opportunity for more walkers to enjoy the walks.
The popular Owlpen Valley walk is already fully booked and other bookable walks are also nearing their maximum number.
The Lantern Way challenge, a self-led walk of 14 miles is also available for the fitter walkers.
The Steering Group are also involved with the Cotswold Gateway project, headed up by the Cotswold Conservation Board. Dursley will have a new way-marked 16 mile walk which is designed to be walked as a figure of 8 to facilitate the walk being done in sessions.
Representatives have been liaising with landowners and public rights of way to improve footpaths and, where possible, replace some stiles with kissing gates. This walk is again featured in the 2019 walking festival.
For more information, visit the Dursley Walking Festival website.
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