Details of autumn’s Chilterns Walking Festival programme have been released at www.visitchilterns.co.uk/walkingfest. From Saturday 16 September to Sunday 01 October 2017, the autumn programme includes an exciting array of new guided walks and activities designed to encourage wider exploration of the Chilterns countryside in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
The new programme includes themed walks, and opportunities to discover lively stories and scenic landscapes associated with the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Programme Highlights include
- Walking in Dizzy’s footsteps – a circular walk round the environs of Hughenden Manor, home to the flamboyant and notorious Benjamin Disraeli;
- Walk past the notorious Helfire Caves, before a climb to Sir Francis Dashwoods’ mausoleum and the Golden Ball, with striking views towards High Wycombe and the Dashwoods historic home of West Wycombe Park;
- A 5-mile walk through beech woods and open countryside with a stop, and free beer samples, at Rebellion Brewery shop;
- A series of 3 walks focused on viewing the beautiful central Chilterns landscape before it changes forever with the advent of HS2 high speed railway.
The Chilterns Conservation Board’s People and Society Officer Annette Venters said “Our spring festival uncovered a tremendous appetite for learning more about the people and places associated with the Chilterns, which walk leaders are only too happy to share. We have planned many themed guided walks to encourage more people to enjoy and explore the countryside, which is a one of our principal aims in organising the walking festival.”
Walks cover varying degrees of length and challenge, and are designed for novice and experienced walkers alike. Following the inaugural spring event, 54% of people reported discovering new parts of the Chilterns, while 16% were new to walking/not regular walkers.
The walking festival, the first to cover the whole of the Chilterns, raises awareness of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to encourage people to discover more of its 2,000 km of routes, and to promote the health benefits of being active in the countryside.
- The Chilterns Walking Festival involves a three year programme of events which will take place in spring and autumn, thanks to a successful LEADER fund grant application secured by Chilterns Conservation Board.
- September’s 18 day programme features over 60 guided walks, activities and events, designed to appeal to different age groups, interests and levels of fitness. There will be walks for young families, for people with limited mobility or with canine companions.
- The Chilterns AONB is a rural area, surrounded by major urban centres including Luton, Aylesbury, Hemel Hempstead, Reading and High Wycombe. London is 20 miles to the south east and there are excellent road, rail and bus transport links. In total, 10 million people live within an hour’s driver time of the Chilterns.
The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was designated in 1965 and covers 833 sq kms (326 sq miles) stretching from Goring, in Oxfordshire, to near Hitchin, in Hertfordshire. It is one of 38 AONBs in England and Wales and has a resident population of 80,000.
Chilterns Conservation Board
The Chilterns Conservation Board was set up following the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000, to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and increase awareness and understanding of the Chilterns AONB. The Board, which also aims to foster the social and economic wellbeing of local communities, is supported by Defra and all local authorities in the area.
The Chilterns Walking Festival is part funded by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development through the Chilterns LEADER programme. The grant received through this programme has helped make these festivals happen. The LEADER programme assists rural businesses to create jobs and support the rural economy. It has been running across England for more than 10 years.
Event Main Sponsor: Fox’s Outdoor
Established over 60 years ago, Fox’s Outdoor is one of the UK’s most respected independent outdoor retailers of clothing, equipment and footwear. The company employs 20 knowledgeable staff at its premises, located in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. www.foxsoutdoor.co.uk
Event Sponsor: Brakspear
Brakspear is a family owned and run Henley brewer and award-winning pub company which has been at the heart of British life for over 200 years. Many of the company’s 132 pubs are located in picturesque rural and town centre settings across The Chilterns. www.brakspear.co.uk
Event Sponsor: Inghams
Inghams is one of the UK’s leading specialist tour operators and has been operating award winning walking holidays in the Lakes & Mountains of Europe for over 80 years. The current programme features over 90 resorts with flights available from 25 regional airports.
Event Sponsor: The Chiltern Society
The Chiltern Society is a registered charity with over 7,000 members and 500 active volunteers dedicated to conserving, celebrating and caring for the Chilterns. It manages 12 important nature reserves and heritage sites, in addition to carrying out conservation work across the Chilterns landscape.