A way of getting people out walking

This page will be for examples of walking events. Whitehorse, a wilderness city, has trails, walkers, tourism aspirations, spectacular scenery, but no walking festival.

What have other places done? Some of the examples are events that span countries, others are more territorial in nature, others are theme.

A walking focus



Walking events and festivals



Walking festivals we've attended

Walk Scilly Festival is a festival we went to. Lovely!

Hay-on-Wye Walking Festival

Take a look at this year's Hay Walking Festival, now a 5-day festival.

We also went to Hay-on-wye for their first walking festival. It ran 3 days over a weekend and a few photo are on-line.

From their 'about' page:

We ran our first Hay Walking Festival in October 2011 and it proved to be a very successful event. This year we have extended the event to cover 5 days, from Thursday 11th – Monday 15th October 2012. We are putting on a full and varied programme of some 45 guided walks for all ages and abilities, from full days to a few hours, together with opportunities to acquire better navigational and map reading skills and to learn about the geology and archaeology of the area. There are also opportunities to sample some local cycling and canoeing down the Wye.

The walks are graded according to difficulty and are all led by experienced walkers and walk leaders, a number of whom run their own walking , cycling or outdoor activity centres in the area.

The programme provides the opportunity to be led by local experts through some of the most spectacular scenery that the area has to offer, whilst learning something new about the history and the landscape. A number of walks start in Hay itself, more distant or longer walks provide transport at a small additional cost and one walk uses public transport.

We hope that this varied programme will appeal both to visitors and local residents, giving visitors a taste of some of the stunning scenery, and introducing residents to new paths and unfamiliar corners of this wonderful border country.

We also have a short programme of evening events, including the festival ceilidh, to be held at the Swan, and a pub quiz at Kilverts – both of which proved popular and successful last year. This year we also have an evening of local song provided by the Village Quire at the Globe.

For its 3rd annual walking festival... "For 2013 our walking festival has 48 walks over 5 days, with a mix of short and long walks each day. We have some family friendly walks and some themed walks - for example: foraging, geology, archaeology, local history and ancient churches. There are opportunities to learn new techniques or to polish up any rusty skills including map reading, navigation and nordic walking. New this year to the walking festival is a beginner's session on mountain walking - in heart of the beautiful Llanthony valley. Or you can learn how to improve your walking posture with the Alexander technique or pick up some tips on sketching outdoors. We have listened to your feedback from last year's walking festival and we have included many more longer walks this year, so 12 of our walks are more than 10 miles long and there is one 25 miler, on Sunday 12th October - definitely not for the faint hearted! And we've added a few classic local walks, including the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe...."

Haltwhistle Autumn Walking Festival

We went to a walking festival in Haltwhistle, England, a town of 3,811 residents. It has a 10-day festival in the spring and another in the fall. Some people we talked to there were tourists but most seemed to be locals, some who just like to walk, others who want to learn new walks, and some who wanted the security of group walks.

Background, 17 Nov, 2012 (I asked for some background and received this reply)

Here is the outline of how our walking festival started.

In 2003 Haltwhistle Partnership set up the twice yearly festival. They found funding to get it going. From then on they used local walkers to lead walks in the festivals. Over the years, these walking volunteers took a greater role in the organization of the festival. Just over 2 years ago the volunteers took on the complete running of the festival, forming a limited company to do this. (I don't know what you would need in the Canada.)

We have to have public liability insurance and insurance in case we are sued for negligence. You will see the sort of information we give out to potential walkers on our website.

Our leaders and backups have all gone through training which we devised and have a handbook which explains what is expected of them. This is all pretty straightforward stuff - no rocket science required. We offer first aid training and nearly all our volunteers are up to date with this.

Our walks always have one leader and 2 backups, one of whom should be at the back of the group at all times. This is a safety conscious decision and based on experience. If someone takes ill and has to wait for rescue, then a back up stays while the rest of the walk proceeds. We always have a car back up for our walks too, although this is probably a bit of a counsel of perfection. It means we can rescue someone with a minor injury from a nearby road (if there is one).

We charge for the walks to cover our expenses. We also have local advertisers who advertise in our printed programme and on our website. This covers the cost of the printed programme.

The best advertising is undoubtedly word of mouth and using a website.

You will see from the website that we offer a variety of distances and grades to be walked as well as special interest walks.

I hope this is helpful to you.

My advice is to start small and try to get some local press coverage for the first festival.

From their website:

How to join a walk
All walks must be pre-booked and numbers are limited. We use a booking agent, Bradsons, for all bookings. Walks and other events can be booked directly via a web link to Bradsons. We hope you will find this a simple and efficient way to book your walks. If you would prefer not to book online, you may book by telephoning Bradsons using a credit or debit card. You may also pay by cheque: 'phone Bradsons first to make your booking and then send the cheque to them.

Which walk is for me?
The walk grades are described below. Please check the mileage for each walk and be sure that it is within your own capabilities. Although the walk leaders will do their best to set a pace to suit everyone, it is important to be sure you are fit for the walks you choose.

What should I wear?

We recommend that all walkers wear comfortable and supportive footwear. In practice this nearly always means walking boots with ankle support.

Please also remember suitable clothing such as waterproofs and sunhats. Waterproofs are essential on ALL walks. Please be aware that if there has been rainfall some routes may be muddy and gaiters can provide good protection.

A day pack for packed lunch, drinks and extra clothing is recommended. Walk leaders reserve the right to refuse to take anyone on the walk if they are not adequately equipped. This is particularly important on the longer more strenuous walks, where there are unlikely to be "escape points" where walks can be shortened.

Walk Grades
Please read the detailed instructions for each walk, as well as the grade, to make sure you choose a walk to suit you. If walkers all book themselves on appropriate walks, it makes it easy for leaders to set a pace that suits each group. If you are unsure about a walk, please telephone us and discuss this.

Easy walks are intended for most people. The route will be mainly flat and the pace will be gentle. Please note there may be some inclines.

Moderate walks are for people with walking experience and a good level of fitness. Moderate pace.

Moderate plus (+) walks. This is a new grade introduced in 2010. We realized that nearly all our walks were graded Moderate, but some were harder than others. A moderate + walk will tend to be longer and the route will be over rougher ground. These are best for regular walkers who are used to the rougher terrain.

Strenuous walks for experienced walkers with a high level of fitness. Moderate to brisk pace.

Do I need to bring anything?
Some walks will indicate that you need to bring a packed lunch. It is very important to bring plenty to drink. If you use medication (e.g. for asthma) please don't forget to bring it with you. You may also like to bring a camera to capture the wonderful views along your walk. You may need sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, gloves, etc.

Which walks can children do?
Children over the age of 7 are also welcome on the easy and moderate walks if they are accompanied by a responsible adult. They must wear appropriate clothes and footwear.

Are dogs allowed?
The presence of a dog can scatter livestock and cause distress, therefore we cannot allow dogs to be taken on any of the walks. We regret any disappointment that this may cause.

Dietary requirements
Food is provided on some walks. It you have any special dietary requirements, please phone 01434 322025 (or tell the staff at Bradsons when booking).

If it is possible, we arrange for the starting points of walks to be accessible by public transport. Sometimes this is not practical. If you want to come on a walk and have no transport to the starting point, please contact us and we will see if we can arrange a lift for you.

We regret that we are unable to provide a refund if you have to cancel a walk. We will provide refunds for any walks or activities that we have to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances. (Be reassured, this is a very rare event.)

Walking holidays using tour operators