Great Outdoors Monday, April 4th Words by: Lauren Rogers

Herefordshire Walking Festivals 2016

Great Outdoors Monday, April 4th

Herefordshire Walking Festivals 2016

Regardless of compass reading skills, walking festivals are open to avid ramblers, families, dog walkers and those of us more akin to going on pub crawls.

Here's your guide to when and where they're happening in and around Herefordshire. Extra points if you already own a rambling stick, thick socks and a thermos.

HfdsWalkingFestival

Herefordshire Walking Festival - 18 to 26 June

New for 2016 is the Wyche Way, an 80-mile trail connecting Offa's Dyke with the Cotswold Way. There's a walk and ferry ride (re-establishing the Mansell Ferry for one day only), a midsummer solstice walk starting at 4am to watch the sun rise, a cycle/walk with a tour of Berrington's Capability Brown gardens, poetry walks and an evening walk listening to the bats around Bodenham church. 

Download the full programme at www.walkingfestival.com where helpful little symbols tell you whether dogs are welcome or blisters are likely.

HfdshireWalkingFestival on Facebook

@HfdsWalkingFest

Talgarth Walking Festival runs April 29 to May 2

Talgarth Walking Festival - 29 April to 2 May

Outside the shire this part of Powys is consided by plenty to be a gateway to the Black Mountains. The festival is an easy, organised way to discover the Brecon Beacons National Park on foot. There's an Owen Sheers-inspired walk through the Olchon Valley (the atmospheric setting of Resistance) and a Wye Valley walk starting at Glasbury.

Here's the full programme - www.talgarthwalkingfestival.org. You can book online or get more info by calling 07943 616453.

TalgarthWalkingFestival on Facebook

@TalgarthWAW

Malvern Walking Festival - 28 May to 5 June

A nine-day walking festival in and around Elgar's old stomping ground, including evening strolls and a 60-day hike spread over 6 days. We like the sound of the Malvern Munch!, mainly because it involves stopping every 20 minutes to eat.

Full programme and booking forms at www.malvernwalking.uk/walks

MalvernWalkingFestival on Facebook

Photo gallery: previous Malvern Walking Festivals on Flickr

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Let's get ready to ramble: our top winter walks

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Explore Mortimer Country showcases guides walks throughout the year

Mortimer Country Walking Festival - May to September

Guided walks are held in this slice of north Herefordshire all year round and this brings them together under the happy banner of 'walking festival'. On April 9, you've got a Rail Ramble from Hopton Heath to Craven Arms (comes with a 'strenuous' warning), and on April 16 it's all about the Battle of Mortimer's Cross. Hopefully with fewer arrows.

You'll find lots more info at www.exploremortimercountry.com

Leominster Festival - 29 May to 5 June

Not strictly a walking festival... but what do you expect, we're rule breakers.

This year's festival features a bookfair, a talk with Deborah Moggach (she wrote These Foolish Things which was adapted into The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and her screenplay for the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice won a BAFTA), a jazz soiree at the Priory Church and 2 urban safaris, which is where the walking comes in. The one for kids will include a closer look at local wildlife and folklore, while the one for adults will end at the pub.

The urban safaris are free. Book your place at www.leominster-festival.co.uk/safari

LeominsterFestival on Facebook

@LeominsterFest

Hergest Ridge can be explored during Kington Walks, now in its 5th year

Kington Walks - 15 to 18 September

Now in its 5th year, this is one straddles the English/Welsh border and is suitable for hardcore ramblers as well as lazy ones.

There are 44 walks to pick from. On Saturday, September 17, the festival hosts the Eight Peaks Challenge - 15 miles of "at your own risk" hiking that's becoming popular with runners, orienteerers and people who like to cross the finishing line before anyone else. There are also garden walks, cider walks and, if you've not done it before, incredible views from Hergest Ridge.

Dogs aren't allowed on any of the guided walks (sorry dogs), but the website has helpful effort-level ratings. There's loads more info and booking at www.kingtonwalks.org/walks

KingtonWalks on Facebook

@kingtonwalks 

Ross Walking Festival takes place every September

Ross-on-Wye Walking Festival - 23 to 25 September

Ross was one of the first places in the UK to get the Walkers are Welcome accreditation, and around a decade later still wears the badge proudly. The 2016 weekend festival includes a river walk and ferry crossing, a farmland walk which starts with cows being milked, the discovery of Roman iron workings which could have inspired The Lord of the Rings, and (our personal favourite) a meandering route through field paths and lanes via the cider orchards of Broome Farm, ending with a Cream Tea and an opportunity to meet the resident alpacas.

Ross-on-WyeWalkingFestival on Facebook

@rosswaw

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Image credits:

Tile and banner - Flickr/ReflectedSerendipity, via CC

Talgarth Walking Festival - FB 

Mortimer Country - FB/Sylvia Fawcett

Kington Festival - Flickr/Horses on Hergest Ridge, via CC

Ross Walking Festival - FB

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