Walking Festival to return after first year success

New Forest Walking Festival Lyndhurst for web

Published Wednesday 6 November 2013

The New Forest Walking Festival is set to return next year after the success of the first festival this autumn.

Led by the New Forest National Park Authority and partner organisations, the Walking Festival featured expert-led guided walks highlighting the wildlife, history and culture of the National Park.

The festival took place during the autumn half term (26 October to November 3), attracting locals and visitors from across the south of England as well as some from Germany and France.

Unlike other walking festivals, walkers in the New Forest were rewarded if they left their car behind and arrived by public transport.

Nine of the 11 walks were fully booked with 89 per cent of walkers choosing to come by bus, train, bike or on foot.

Jens-Peter Marquardt, who works for German radio station ARD, enjoyed three festival walks whilst on holiday in the New Forest with his family.

He said: ‘All three walks were great. The National Park Rangers did a wonderful job explaining what is unique in the flora and fauna of the New Forest. The walks were extremely inspiring and worth doing again.’

Brian Matthews, from Lymington, joined three of the festival walks including ones that highlighted the Forest’s World War II airfields.

Brian said: ‘The walks were fascinating. As a local resident I did know a little about the history of the airfields, but I’ve learned so much more. It was very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to next year’s Walking Festival.’

Work is now underway to organise next year’s festival which is supported in part by a £3.8m Department for Transport grant to encourage car-free travel in the New Forest and South Downs National Parks.

Julian Johnson, chairman of the National Park Authority, said: ‘I’m delighted that the Walking Festival was such a success and that so many chose to use public transport, helping take cars off the road and protect the special qualities of the National Park. I look forward to next year’s festival which I’m sure will be bigger and better.’

Partner organisations for this year's festival included the Forestry Commission, New Forest Association, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and New Forest District Council.

For the latest news on the New Forest Walking Festival go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walking_festival


Picture caption: A New Forest Ranger led walk at Lyndhurst.

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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