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May walking festival in Herts

PUBLISHED: 15:26 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 13:52 16 May 2016

The walks cater for all ages

The walks cater for all ages

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Exploring Herts’ nature and history, getting fit and meeting like-minded people, all for free – sound good? There are more than 70 guided routes on offer in the Countryside Management Service May Walking Festival. Hertfordshire Year of Walking officer Rukia Augustine explains

Little Hay guided walk at BovingdonLittle Hay guided walk at Bovingdon

The Hertfordshire Year of Walking will culminate in an exciting, fun and diverse walking festival, taking place across the county. The county council’s Countryside Management Service is coordinating the festival, which will showcase some of the best Hertfordshire has to offer. Themes are varied and include nature trails, history, the dawn chorus, singing strolls and photography walks.

It is set to be a wonderful collaboration of outdoor activities and pursuits, bringing together a huge range of organisations. All the festival events are free and cater for a wide range of audiences from day-long rambles to youngster friendly bug hunts are on offer.

Hertfordshire is an ideal location for both urban and countryside walks. It has several Local Nature Reserves, a National Nature Reserve (Broxbourne Woods), 49 Green Flag Award winning parks, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Chilterns), and rare, iconic chalk rivers. The county’s 5,000 public rights of way also provide more than 3,000 kilometers of walking opportunities.

Guided walks are a great way of getting to know an area, giving participants the confidence to return with friends and family to experience the changes the seasons bring. Many of the walks will be repeated later in the year or are part of a series lead by a group you can join.

The festival coincides with National Month of Walking and the long-standing Stevenage Walking Festival which takes place from the May 7-15 and provides an opportunity for residents to explore their county, get active and make new friends.

Here are some festival highlights to give you a taste of what’s on offer:

Shenleybury Trail, Borehamwood, Monday May 9, 11am. Take a bus ride and a leisurely walk back to hear all about six centuries of local history.

Southern Country Park Walk, Bishop’s Stortford, Tuesday May 17, 10am. A short walk to discover the park, the northern parkland and Thorley Wedge.

Photography Walk around Hemel Old Town and Gadebridge Park, Wednesday May 18, 6.30pm. Expert guidance on how to frame and focus your shots beautifully.

Panshanger Estate Ramble, Monday May 30, 10am. An eight mile ramble on the disused railway line towards Welwyn GC, looping around the estate on public rights of way through woodland, countryside and parkland.

On Monday May 16 from 9am to midday we are aiming to attract the largest number of people ever to take part in a Hertfordshire Health Walk on the same day. The Mass Health Walk will show the country that Hertfordshire is a county of walkers! With a dozen or more health walks on the day there is no excuse for missing out. To find your nearest one go to Hertsdirect.org/healthwalks

Some of the events have limited availability. Visit hertsdirect.org/walkingfestival, email walking@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call 01992 588433 to find out more.

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