Walking festival spots going fast

PUBLISHED: 11:40 27 August 2016

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

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

Archant

Ramblers can travel the length of East Devon when a popular walking festival returns next month.

Originating as a way of showcasing the Sid Valley to tourists, the third year of the event boasts experts in foraging, map reading and wildlife, with walks for different levels of ability.

For the first time, festival-goers have the chance to walk all 40 miles of the East Devon Way – and get picked up from Sidmouth and collected by coach at the end of each day. The festival was the brainchild of East Devon Ramblers member Norma Self, who said: “It’s filling up fast – people better get booking quickly! We had no idea it would grow to this scale. There are walks and walking festivals all over the country – I just asked why Sidmouth didn’t have one.”

She was challenged to organise the first festival in 2014, with Ted Swan, and they now have Jennifer Dixon on board. Norma thanked Karen Whittaker from the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for securing the wide range of experts this year.

The festival will start on Saturday, September 17, with a chance to meet the guides, all East Devon Ramblers, and take a guided walk around Sidmouth.

There are 25 walks to choose from between then and Sunday, September 25, of three to nine miles in length, or more gentle strolls.

The East Devon Way has been split into six stages. A coach to reach the starting points has been secured with the backing of the AONB. There will be a charge of £5 per person each day to use it, although it will not run on Tuesday, September 20. The final section, from Colyton to Lyme Regis, is filling up fast. The festival has also been supported by Sidmouth Town Council and the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund.

For more information, visit the Sidmouth Information Centre or call 01395 516441.

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