Popular festival returns to promote walking in the Staffordshire Moorlands

The towns, villages and breath-taking landscapes of the Staffordshire Moorlands will take centre stage as a popular, 11-day walking festival returns this month.

The Staffordshire Moorlands Walking Festival, from Friday 26th April to Monday 6th May, features more than 40 walks in the district, many of which are free. They range from easy, flat strolls, to more challenging, hilly treks.

Walks include a leisurely stroll of 0.5miles at the John Hall Wellness Garden, Leek (26th April), and the gentle, one mile Mayor’s Meander at the town’s Birchall Playing Fields (1st May).

And there are strenuous routes at beauty spots like The Roaches, Lud’s Church, Dimmingsdale, the Manifold Valley, and Rushton Spencer/Gun Hill, for more accomplished walkers.

Other highlights include a Nordic Walking Taster Session at Ilam Park (28th April), history walks in Forsbrook (29th April) and Froghall (30th April), and a circular walk in Bagnall (1st May), which culminates in a free drink at The Stafford Arms pub.

It’s the third year of the festival, which began in 2022 after a group of local walkers decided to foster a shared love of the great outdoors, reignite community bonds, and promote wellness and the Moorlands countryside.

More than 600 walkers took part in the 2023 event, including many from outside Staffordshire, and organisers hope it will continue to grow and help put the Moorlands on the map as a destination for walking breaks.

Organiser Austin Knott said: “We’re really grateful to the like-minded organisations who are helping make the Staffordshire Moorlands Walking Festival happen.

“The support we’re getting from local people, and those choosing to visit and stay in the area during the festival is overwhelming and shows that we’re doing something right.

“There’s a great range of walks and events on offer at this year’s festival, and we hope to see another great response and show why the Moorlands is such a lovely place to visit.”

Full details of the 2024 programme are available at www.staffsmoorlandswalkingfestival.co.uk.

The festival has been supported for 2024 and 2025 as part of a two-year project to grow the local visitor economy and promote the area’s unique outdoor offer.

Funding has been allocated from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, with activity delivered by Enjoy Staffordshire.

Lorraine Wright, Head of Regeneration at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: “The Council is pleased to support this walking festival with funding we’ve received to help build pride in place and to support local businesses.

“This event is a great match for our objectives as it showcases the Moorlands and all it has to offer and will also benefit the businesses in our towns and villages as people spend leisure time in our District and enjoy the hospitality and warm welcome that awaits.”

Tony Mullins
Tony Mullins
Presenter & News Editor

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