It's National Walking Month, and people in Wolverhampton can take part by putting their best foot forward and joining one of the many free walks being held during the city's annual walking festival.

Now in its sixth year, the Wolverhampton Walking Festival 2016 gets underway this Saturday (7 May, 2016) and boasts more than 30 different walks.

It includes something for everyone, no matter their age or ability, with highlights including guided walks around local beauty spots like West Park, East Park, Pendeford Mill, Northycote Farm, Bantock Park and the Smestow Valley, the annual Walking for Health Challenge Trail and a spectacular 29 mile, weekend long ramble around Wolverhampton.

The Festival begins on Saturday with the Walking for Health Challenge Trail - encouraging people to test themselves against a 4, 7 or 12 mile way marked course starting from WV Active Aldersley. On the same day, there is a 2 hour stroll around Bantock Park and a 5 mile walk along the Greenways and Pathways of Penn.

On Sunday 8 May, there will be a 9 mile walk from Wombourne to Trysull, a 90 minute Health Walk from Himley to Baggeridge and a 2 hour stroll round West Park.

East Park is the venue for a mile long health walk on Monday 9 May, while there are no less than 5 festival activities on Tuesday 10 May, including a 90 minute health walk around Mops Bridge Loop, an 8 mile circular walk around Kinver and Enville, a 3 hour ramble along the Smestow Valley, a toddle waddle around West Park and an evening slideshow about the South West Coastal Path presented by Wolverhampton Mountaineering Club.

The action packed programme continues with 5 more events on Wednesday 11 May, including a 2 hour walk at Pendeford Mill Nature Reserve, a mile long health walk and Nordic walking taster session in West Park, a four-and-three-quarter mile walk in Codsall and a short history walk around Wolverhampton city centre.

Attractions on Thursday 12 May, include a chance to meet the Birds of the Smestow Valley with a 2 hour stroll, and health walks around Northycote Farm, Wednesfield and Penn. More strenuous pursuits will be offered through the Wolverhampton Figure of Eight Walks, which cover either 3 or 7 miles - or people can do both and complete 10 miles.

A 6 mile walk will discover Tettenhall and beyond on Friday 13 May, and there will also be a 3 mile health walk around Pendeford on the same day.

The festival concludes over the weekend of 14 and 15 May with the Wolverhampton Ring, a 2 part, 29 mile walk circumnavigating the city along old tow paths, disused railway lines and footpaths. People can either tackle the whole lot or a particular section, depending on their fitness levels.

Also on Saturday 14 May, there will be a 2 hour history walk around East Park and health walks at Bantock Park and in Bushbury, and on Sunday 15 May there is a mile long health walk in West Park, a Junior Bird Watch at Northycote Farm and a sponsored 2 mile walk organised by Guide Dogs for the Blind around West Park.

All walks are free, although places on some walks need to be booked in advance. Everyone is welcome to take part; under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

The festival has been organised by the Wolverhampton Healthy Lifestyle Service and the City of Wolverhampton Council in partnership with a number of local organisations.

Ros Jervis, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "The Wolverhampton Walking Festival offers a fantastic range of walks to suit all ages and abilities - there really is something for everyone, and I'd urge people to pull on their walking boots and take part.

"Walking can improve your health and happiness, so it's also a great way to get or stay in shape and also discover parts of Wolverhampton you may not have seen before, including the fantastic parks and green spaces which we have all around our city.

"The festival is also a great way for local people to be a part of National Walking Month, which encourages people to walk more throughout May and also features activities like Walk to Work week and Walk to School Week."

Hayley Scott, of Wolverhampton's Healthy Lifestyles Service, said: "The festival walks are a great opportunity to meet some friendly, like minded people and see some of the local beauty spots and hidden green parts of Wolverhampton and surrounding areas. Everyone is welcome, and best of all, the walks are totally free."

For more information on the 2016 Wolverhampton Walking Festival, please call the Wolverhampton Healthy Lifestyle Service on 01902 444246 or 0800 073 4242, or log on to Type=links;Linkid=6775;Title=Walking for Health;Target=_blank; to download the brochure.

The Wolverhampton Walking Festival is organised by Wolverhampton's Healthy Lifestyle Service, part of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and the City of Wolverhampton Council with the assistance of Wolverhampton Ramblers Association, Nordic Walking UK, Wolverhampton Mountaineering Club, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Wolves Community Trust and Wolf Mountain.

  • released: Tuesday 3 May, 2016