Step forward for walking festival

By Jake Chown  
Tuesday 29th June 2021 7:58 am
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THERE is light at the end of the tunnel for a popular local walking festival after organisers announced it will return in the autumn following more than a year of disruption caused by the pandemic.

The annual Coleford Walking Festival is back for 2021 and will take place at the start of September, after it was cancelled last year due to Covid-19 and delayed again this year by extended lockdown restrictions in England.

Organisers of the festival are pleased to be able invite locals to join them for a ramble in the Forest for a fourth time this year, following a series of “well-supported” events since its launch in 2017.

The festival is jointly funded by Coleford Town Council and the Coleford area Partnership and operates with the support of various local organisations and individual volunteers.

The event was established to celebrate the “natural beauty” and “intriguing history” of the Coleford area, which the organisers say was “crying out for its own walking festival”.

On this year’s event being given the go-ahead, a spokesman for the festival said: “We are really grateful to the many organisations that have come on board to work with us in building on the success of previous walking festivals.

“We have tried to cater for all ages and walking abilities within our programme so hope it is of interest to all.

“It is hoped that this fourth event will be as successful as those before it.”

The event, which has previously been held over two weekends in May, will consist of a reduced programme this year and will run over a five-day period.

A “mini festival format” of 13 walks will make up this year’s programme, covering a variety of themes and offering something for people of all abilities.

The walks will range in length from just over one mile to “more strenuous” walks of 8-12 miles.

Two walks in the programme specific to the Coleford area consist of a “Coleford Area Ramble” and a “looping” walk in and out of the town centre dubbed “Coleford’s Daisy Chain”.

There will also be two geology-themed walks in Staunton and Soudley, as well as an excursion to Woorgreens Nature Reserve and a “Heritage Walk” in Bream over the course of the five days.

Other walks in the wider Forest of Dean Area will consist of rambles in Newnham and Blaize Bailey, Mitcheldean and Wigpool, a Mayhill to Speech House walk, a “Lydbrook Loop”, a night walk to the top of the Kymin and a “Real Ale Trail” led by Greg Daniel from The Dog House Micro Pub in Coleford.

Three of the walks will be hosted by the Foresters’ Forest Heritage Lottery Funded project, and one of three free walks in the programme will be led by the Forest of Dean Ramblers.

The festival will run from Friday September 3 until Tuesday September 7, with tickets ranging in price from free of charge to £5.

For more information about the festival and details on how to book, go to www.colefordareawalkingfestival.co.uk.

Alternatively, information is also available at the Tourist Information Centre in Coleford.

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