Popular walking festival returns to town with help of the AONB

Walkers set off for their final trek of the Sidmouth Walking Festival. Ref shs 6125-40-14AW. Picture

Walkers set off for their final trek of the Sidmouth Walking Festival. Ref shs 6125-40-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Popular walking festival returns to Sid Valley with help of the AONB

Sidmouth Walking Festival will explore all 38 miles of the East Devon Way when it strolls into town for the third time next September.

Organisers Norma Self and Ted Swan are teaming up with the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to plan the event, which has grown each year.

And together they are calling on accommodation providers and eateries along the route to take part to get tourists staying and dining locally.

Norma said: “Ted happened to be at a meeting when there was a representative of the AONB. We thought it would be a good idea to combine the two.

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“Long may it continue, as long as it keeps bringing people into the area.”

Over the course of the week, walkers will be able to tackle the East Devon Way route between Lyme Regis and Exmouth – one leg at a time, getting picked up and dropped off by coach in between – as well as coastal and inland walks in Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Branscombe.

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The programme also includes circular walks off the East Devon Way, led by ramblers who are experts in skills such as foraging, map reading, history, myths and legends.

An AONB spokesman said: “We are calling all B&Bs and accommodation providers along the East Devon Way to be part of it, we hope it will attract visitors from afar to come and stay for the week.

“Also, we would like to offer the option of pubs, cafes and places to eat and discover - so this really is a chance for us all to work together to put the festival on the map.”

The walking festival was awarded a £500 grant by Sidmouth Town Council this year.

Norma said she hopes to get funding to help cover the cost of the coaches for the 2016 festival.

It will run from September 17 - 25, with the first walk on September 18.

Any businesses interested in getting involved can email info@eastdevonaonb.org.uk.

The walking festival coincides with Outstanding Week – a programme of events to celebrate AONBs across the country.

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