Forest festival a hit with walkers

walking festival 2017

Published Thursday 23 November 2017

This autumn’s New Forest Walking Festival has received a glowing response from walkers across the south of England.

More than 1,500 walkers attended expert led walks during the two week event, with 94% of those who left feedback saying they learnt something new about the National Park.

Led by the New Forest National Park Authority and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the annual Walking Festival was running for the fifth time. Attendees joined expert guides to go behind the scenes and find out more about the wildlife, history and culture of the National Park.

The festival took place between 14 and 29 October, with 97% of walkers saying they enjoyed their walk despite some bracing weather and the effects of Storm Brian.

The Festival allowed people to find out something new about the Forest in the company of archaeologists, wildlife experts and rangers. Walks covered a diverse range of activities, including wild play events for children, behind the scenes tours of historical sites, photography tuition and even alpaca walks. 

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We run this walking festival to help people learn more about the special qualities of the New Forest while enjoying a healthy stroll. So it is good to hear that so many people came away from their walk having discovered something new and interesting. I hope each and every one of them was inspired to take care of this special place whenever they visit.’ 

The New Forest Walking Festival is funded by the £4.4m Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help the Forest thrive in the future.

The festival is run in partnership with many local organisations including the Forestry Commission, New Forest Association, New Forest Ramblers and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

The New Forest Walking Festival will return from 13 to 28 October 2018, with walks announced by August 2018 at

Notes to Photo Editor:

History walk at 2017 New Forest Walking Festival. 

Notes to Editor

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.

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer 
Tel: 01590 646650 

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