Boots on for walking fest

Walkers taking part in the Garstang Walking Festival''Date: 11-05-2010
Walkers taking part in the Garstang Walking Festival''Date: 11-05-2010

Garstang walking festival gets under way next month – and it is set to be bigger and better than ever.

The festival runs from Friday, May 11 to Sunday May 20, celebrating springtime in Garstang, rural Wyre, the Forest of Bowland and the Lancaster Canal.

There’s something for all ages and abilities, from full day rambles to easy one hour strolls, and themes to capture every interest.

And this year, festival goers can look forward to exclusive access to a number of private locations this year.

One of the walks, Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee will take walkers up to the Jubilee Cairn on Nicky Nook Fell, by permission of landowners. The cairn was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1897.

Another activity is the Claughton Hall Woodland Walk, where walkers will meet the landowners, and keep an eye out for nesting herons.

Walkers will also have access to Sullom Hill on the edge of the Forest of Bowland for the Sullom Hill Ramble, which promises spectacular views across Lancashire (weather permitting).

 A new feature this year is Cheese and Churches, a walk which takes in St Thomas’ Church in Garstang and St Helen’s Church in Churchtown, a visit to Dewlay Cheese Museum and cheese tasting at Mallon’s cheese stall in Garstang’s Market Hall. Many festival walks are accessible to people with restricted mobility, using the council’s Trampers – all terrain electric buggies which can deal with stones, mud, grass and rough ground.

Wyre’s dedicated volunteers can provide help and advice on using them and accompany people on walks if required.

A Tramper highlight is the new Lapwings and Hares Tramper trek, a four-mile route around Claughton-on-Brock, on the lookout for wildlife.

A variety of workshops offer opportunities to discover new skills and hobbies. Learn the ancient rural craft of dry stone walling in a two-day workshop at Beacon Fell, or try spoon carving in a workshop that takes place in local woodland.

There’s lots to entertain the children too with Out to Meet the Cows, a two-mile walk in Cabus which visits a dairy farm to see cows being milked; Children’s Story Time on Garstang Millennium Green’ story-telling followed by a family bear hunt on the green; and Brock Family Minibeast River Dip will have them looking for bugs and beasties.

Duncan Byrne, Countryside Ranger at Wyre Council and co-ordinator of the festival said: “We couldn’t run the festival without the help and support of local people, community groups and volunteers and everyone has contributed to making this year’s programme bigger and better than ever.”

n For full details of the festival including times, dates, locations and prices, download the programme guide at www.visitwyre.co.uk, or pick up a copy from Wrye tourist entres. Booking is essential on many walks. Rreserve your place by calling 01995 602125. Anyone interested in joining the Friends should contact Cherry Childes on 01772 491616, or email childes@blueyonder.co.uk.