Walkers in Wolverhampton are being urged to put their best foot forward and step off the beaten path during the city's fourth annual Walking Festival.

People can join in history walks, test their fitness and even become part of International Dawn Chorus Day during the 2014 Wolverhampton Walking Festival, which takes place from Saturday 3 May to Sunday 11 May.

A total of 30 free walks for people of all ages and abilities are being staged in and around Wolverhampton, from a 1 mile health walk to countryside rambles and a 10 mile charity challenge.

The festival has been organised by the Wolverhampton Healthy Lifestyle Service, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, Wolverhampton City Council and a number of other organisations and gets underway with a Walking for Health Challenge Trail on Saturday 3 May, giving people the chance to test themselves over 2 and a half miles, 7 miles or 10 miles in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

On the same day, people can stroll around Bantock Park's Tree Trail or discover the Parks, Paths and Pavements of Penn.

On Sunday 4 May, early birds can catch the dawn chorus with a 2 hour walk and talk starting at 4.30am at Northycote Farm and there's a 2 hour History Walk around West Park.

Northycote Farm is the location of a 4 mile May Day celebration walk along the King Charles Trail on Monday 5 May, exploring the surrounding countryside and the area's fascinating connections with King Charles II, and it's off to Albrighton on Tuesday 6 May for a 7 mile ramble around the picturesque village.

Also on the Tuesday will be Health walks at Ashmore Park and Bilston and a ramble around the Smestow Valley, as well as the chance to take a breather with a slide show of Walks From Around The World presented by Wolverhampton Mountaineering Club.

The action packed programme continues on Wednesday 7 May with a health walk through Bradley and a walk and talk around Pendeford Mill, introducing visitors to the flora and fauna of this valuable and environmentally sensitive nature reserve.

People can also have a go at a 1 hour Nordic Walking taster session at West Park take a stroll along the Victorian Wolverhampton Heritage Trail, which highlights the history of many city centre buildings, and enjoy a Perfect Perton Walk along the Staffordshire Way and Monarch's Way.

On Thursday 8 May, attractions include a chance to meet the Birds of the Smestow Valley, a Health Walk around Heath Town and a gentle walk through the city centre to discover the Folds of Wolverhampton, and it's back to the Smestow Valley for an evening health walk along the canal.

Wolves fans will enjoy a Walk with Wolfie followed by a mini tour of the Molineux Stadium on Friday 9 May, and on the same day there will also be a health walk around Pendeford and a 2 hour history walk around East Park.

For the more adventurous, the National Trust property at Dudmaston, near Bridgnorth, is holding a 10 mile trek to Hampton Loade on Saturday 10 May, while closer to home there will be health walks around Bushbury and Bantock Park.

The festival concludes with 4 events on Sunday 11 May - a 2 mile walk for 4 legged friends in aid of Guide Dogs around West Park, 5 and 10 mile Figure of Eight walks from the city centre, a health walk around Himley and Baggeridge and guided walks around Pendeford Mill.

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

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "The Wolverhampton Walking Festival offers a fantastic range of walks to suit all ages and abilities - there really is something for everyone.

"The Festival is growing every year; last year nearly 1,000 people took part and in 2014 we're holding more walks than ever before, so I'd urge people to pull on their walking boots and enjoy some wonderful strolls around Wolverhampton and the surrounding area."

Hayley Scott, Healthy Lifestyle Locality Manager, added: "Walking is a fantastic way to exercise. It's really easy to get started, you don't need any special equipment and best of all it counts towards your recommended amount of physical activity.

"Walking can improve your health, your happiness and, if you join one of our groups, it will give you the chance to explore the outdoors, get to know your local area and meet new people."

For more information on the 2014 Wolverhampton Walking Festival, please call the Wolverhampton Healthy Lifestyle Service on 01902 444246 or freephone 0800 073 4242, or log on to Type=links;Linkid=3270;Title=Wolverhampton Walking Festival 2014;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 3 April, 2014