200 set to step out for walking festival

More than 200 people are expected to lace up their boots for the eighth Haltwhistle Walking Festival which starts today.

More than 200 people are expected to lace up their boots for the eighth Haltwhistle Walking Festival which starts today.

The festival began four years ago when organisers Haltwhistle Partnership decided to try to take advantage of the hundreds of visitors to nearby Hadrian's Wall every year. It is held twice a year and a record 400 people descended on the town for the spring event in May.

The week-long festival allows people of all ages to take part in a range of walks around the area and starts with a sponsored walk for the Great North Air Ambulance today.

You can either take part in a 10-mile walk which starts at 11am, a five-mile walk which starts at 1pm or a two-mile walk which starts at 2pm, all walks start from the Market Place and cost £5.

There is also a chance for people to take part in guided walks along Hadrian's Wall and around the South Tyne valley.

There will be a Fungi walk in the Allen Valley, a one focused on waterfalls, another on the River Tyne and tomorrow there will be a special children's event at Walltown including pond dipping and leaf printing from 11am to 3pm.

The festival will come to a close with a ceilidh on October 21 at the Masonic Hall in Haltwhistle from 7.30pm and tickets are 35 on the door.

Liz Kelly, of Haltwhistle Partnership, said: "We are expecting half as many people as came in the spring, but that's normal for the autumn event.

"It has been great for the town and has been a real boost for shops and businesses such as bed and breakfasts and hotels.

"The idea was to encourage all those hundreds of thousands of visitors to Hadrian's Wall into the town and it is working.

"Haltwhistle is now getting a really good reputation for walking and we get visitors from all over the country."

Go to www.haltwhistle.org and click on events or contact the partnership office on (01434) 321242.

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