Now in its 12th year, the annual Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival, 29th April – 7th May, is offering 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
These special interest outings are aimed at those who are less experienced or 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 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.
Following last year’s success, the social evening, hog roast and Ceilidh is being repeated on Saturday, 6th May at the Victoria Hall, Broseley, starting at 7.30pm. There are vegetarian/vegan options and the local Devil’s Chair band will provide the music. To book tickets in advance, priced at £12.50 each visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/330406; or, subject to availability, they may be purchased for £15 on the door.
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.
To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01952 433 424.
For more details about the walks visit www.ironbridgewalking.co.uk