Discover the secrets of the National Park at the New Forest Walking Festival

Walking festival 2014

Published Tuesday 12 August 2014

Walkers of all ages are invited to take a stroll at the New Forest Walking Festival this autumn to discover birds and beasts, unravel historical secrets and tantalise taste buds.

The festival has doubled in size this year with more than 20 walks guided by experts revealing the history, heritage and wildlife of this world-class landscape.

After the success of the inaugural event last autumn, the festival will this year be spread over a fortnight from 18 October to 2 November, including half term.

Established by the New Forest National Park Authority with support from Forest organisations and businesses, the festival is sponsored by Stewarts who, amongst other things, have Garden Centres at Christchurch and Broomhill, Wimborne.

Unlike other walking festivals, all the walks are free or discounted for those who leave their cars behind and travel by public transport, by bike or on foot.

More walks are added to the festival every week, but among the walks confirmed so far are:

  • World War II history hike
  • Family fungi fun
  • Map reading walks
  • Walking picnics
  • Salt and smuggling trail
  • Nordic walking.

New Forest National Park Authority Deputy Chairman Edward Heron said: ‘The autumn is the most spectacular time of year for a walk around the National Park, and  the gentle, flat landscape of the New Forest is perfect for all ages and abilities.

‘Friendly and knowledgeable walk leaders from local communities and businesses are on hand to help walkers unlock the secrets of the Forest, giving a really memorable experience. 

‘We want the festival to encourage and reward car-free travel, so you can see the best of the Forest without a car and help care for this precious environment at the same time.’

The New Forest Walking Festival 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.

For full details, including booking, visit


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 to find out more.

Media Contacts:
Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639

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