IRONBRIDGE GORGE WALKING FESTIVAL
By Ann Evans
Photos courtesy of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
If you love the great outdoors with spectacular scenery thrown in for good measure, you might
want to take part in the 12th annual Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival which runs from 29th April – 7th May. It offers 57 walks, making it probably the biggest in the West Midlands, and one of the best in the country.
The Festival is not just for people with big rucksacks, walking poles and expensive boots but is two events in one; it offers 32 ‘themed’ walks ranging from two to 10 miles, and 25 walks which are longer and for the more experienced walker.
The ‘Themed’ Festival: This is aimed at the less experienced walker or those unable to take on longer walks. They cover many aspects of the Gorge, its history, geography, geology and nature. Some are timed to enable carers and parents with school aged children to participate. The walks are also ideal for anyone who has taken part in the ‘Walking for Health’ programme, and is now ready to take on more of a challenge.
The ‘Long’ Festival: These routes are for more serious walkers with the aim of providing a challenging but enjoyable day out. They range in length from 12 to 21 miles and mainly involve walking away from roads; some include steep ascents. Walkers will also need to carry enough food and water for the whole day.
Daily walks include hikes of over 20 miles, apart from Wednesday, as well as outings of between 15 and 17 miles. There is also an opportunity to cover 100 miles in the nine days by completing the series of daily 10 – 15 mile walks. Some of these comprise two walks of six miles each, with a break to allow time for lunch in Ironbridge.
The 2017 Walking Festival will be marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, with a special ‘50 years of the Ironbridge Museums’ walk on May 7th taking in nine of their sites over five hours.
Any walkers completing the 50 or 100-mile challenge during the Festival will be presented with a medal to commemorate their achievement on Sunday afternoon, 7th May.
All walks are free, however pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited to a maximum of 20 people. Well behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on some walks, but please check before booking. Visit the website for news of a social evening, hog roast and Ceilidh on Saturday 6th May.
To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01952 433 424. For more details about the