Step into autumn landscapes at the New Forest Walking Festival

New forest walking festival Lyndhurst

Published Wednesday 8 October 2014

Families, foodies and wildlife enthusiasts are heading to the New Forest this autumn half term for the second New Forest Walking Festival.

Places are filling fast on 32 expert-led wildlife walks, family strolls, history hikes and food trails. 

All the guided walks are free or discounted for those who arrive by public transport, by bike or on foot. Most of the walks start near train stations and bus stops, with free minibuses for walks without public transport links.

Walks during the festival fortnight (18 October to 2 November) include: 

  • Wildlife spotting and bird watching 
  • Wild play and family fungi fun
  • History hikes with tales of smugglers and World War II secrets
  • Walking picnics and food trails
  • Healthy walks around picturesque villages and forests 
  • Map reading and Nordic walking for novices. 

Booking is required at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walkingfestival

The Walking Festival was established last year by the New Forest National Park Authority and is sponsored by Stewarts who, amongst other things, have Garden Centres at Christchurch and Broomhill, Wimborne.

Festival walks are led by 11 Forest organisations and businesses, with support from the Forestry Commission, New Forest District Council, New Forest Tourism Association, Brand New Forest, New Forest Association and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

New Forest National Park Authority Deputy Chairman Edward Heron said: ‘Autumn is a wonderful time for a stroll in the New Forest. Canopies are full of rich reds and golden hues, whilst ponies and pigs roam freely. You may even be lucky enough to spot deer and migrating birds. 

‘All the walks are led by local experts to help unlock the secrets of the Forest, and there is plenty of choice with three times as many guided walks this year. 

‘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 – helping to reduce carbon emissions and protect the fragile landscapes of the National Park.’

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 www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walkingfestival or call 01590 646639.

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Picture caption: A guided walk in Lyndhurst from last year's New Forest Walking Festival.

Notes to Editor: Interviews are available by contacting Communications Officer Sion Donovan on 01590 646639 or sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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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