Sidmouth Walking Festival will attract visitors again and again

P0524-05-07TI Sidmouth View. Picture by Terry Ife

P0524-05-07TI Sidmouth View. Picture by Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A celebration of hiking, rambling and strolling to showcase Sidmouth’s sights, smells and sounds is getting laced up for success next month.

Hot on the heels of FolkWeek, the town’s first walking festival is intended to bring in tourists from far and wide to share the delights of the Sid Valley around the world.

Rambler Norma Self put the idea forward, and after being challenged to see it through by town councillor John Dyson, organised it in a matter of months.

“It’s aimed at trying to draw people in from outside the area – maybe they’ll come back again and again,” she said.

The programme now boasts a talk on Sidmouth Arboretum from top dendrologist Hugh Angus and a display from Martin Mallinson on renowned architect RW Sampson, before walkers follow a trail around some of the houses he designed.


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Norma was awarded £1,200 by Sidmouth Town Council and thanked the members, saying: “It couldn’t have got off the ground without them.”

Her friend Ted Swan is helping her out, as while she is experienced at organising strolls with the East Devon Ramblers, she does not get on with paperwork.

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There will be short walks of between seven and nine miles and long walks of between nine and 13 miles, and they will set off from places such as Aylesbeare Common and The Donkey Sanctuary.

Existing strolls around town will also be advertised to anyone who wants to take it easy as the festival runs from Sunday, September 28 to Thursday, October 2.

Norma is still seeking sponsorship for a free cream tea for participants on the last day’s walk and asking anyone who can help to call her on 01395 513974.

Numbers on each walk are being limited to 30.

Bookings can be made through Sidmouth TIC by calling 01395 516441 and leaflets are available by visiting the Ham hub.

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