Popular walking festival to return to Sidmouth

Walkers set off for their final trek of the Sidmouth Walking Festival in 2014. Ref shs 6125-40-14AW.

Walkers set off for their final trek of the Sidmouth Walking Festival in 2014. Ref shs 6125-40-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Ramblers who trekked all 40 miles of the East Devon Way last year will be able to make the reverse journey when a celebration of strolling returns this summer.

The Sidmouth and East Devon Walking Festival will split the popular route into sections, with coaches dropping off and picking people up each day.

There will be two other walks, one short and one long, daily between September 23 and 29, with Sidmouth as the base.

East Devon Ramblers member Norma Self, who started the festival with Ted Swan in 2014, said: “The East Devon Way was hugely successful last year. We’re doing it again this year, but from Lyme Regis to Exmouth. We’ll have done it both ways – I’m not sure what we’ll do next year!

“This is our fourth year. I had no idea what it would become when I first suggested the festival. It grows every year because you can see our lovely countryside. You can see a bit of everything on each of the walks.”

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Norma said the mix of locals and visitors to the Sid Valley was evenly split in 2016 and this year ramblers are coming from as far away as Scotland and Wales to take part.

She thanked Sidmouth Town Council, the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund for their support.

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The festival will open on September 23 with a special launch event at Kennaway House with tasty refreshments, a ukulele band, and the chance to meet all the guides and find out about the walks on offer.

Each day there are linear and circular walks of varying levels of difficulty of distances between three and nine miles.

Special walks include a map-reading lesson led by Ordnance Survey champions Two Blondes Walking; Sidmouth Museum curator Nigel Hyman will tell the history of the Byes; while Professor Brian Golding, a churchwarden, will be leading a tour of 15 places of worship, past and present, and sharing some of their history along the way.

All the walks are free of charge but limited and must be booked in advance through the Sidmouth Information Centre on 01395 516441.

Coach transfers for the East Devon Way walks are £6, payable in advance.

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