Best foot forward for the Isle of Wight Walking Festival

27-03-2012 Spot a squirrel, find a fossil and pick up a new beau at this year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival.


With over 250 walks to choose from, the UK’s biggest walking festival has walks to suit all ages, interests and abilities and makes the most of the Isle of Wight’s 500 miles of footpaths and recognised Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Over 20,000 people took part in last year’s event and many of those tired soles are expected to return for some old favourites and new additions to the programme which includes:

The big one: Walk the Wight is a sponsored 26.5 mile charity walk from Bembridge to Alum Bay, in aid of the Island’s Earl Mountbatten Hospice. On Sunday 13 May, walkers will enjoy a stunning variety of landscapes including high chalk downs, quiet estuaries and dramatic cliffs, and may even spot one of the native red squirrels along the way. If a full 26.5 miles is too much, there is the option to do half the distance or a flat walk if the hills are a little daunting. Entrants must register by 4 May 2012. 

The love one: the Speed Dating Walks are officially a success as they are now responsible for four weddings and a baby – this year’s walks are full for the fairer sex, but men can still sign up for £12! 

The family ones: there are lots of family walks including Fossil Hunting Walk which is just £12 for a family of five and is led by the Isle of Wight’s own ‘Fossil Man’ Martin Simpson who will guide walkers on where to find the very best fossils on the ‘Dinosaur Island’.  There is also a Tiny Tots and Toddlers Tea Party where little ones can see farm animals and enjoy homemade cakes on Bevois Farm for just £2.

The nature ones: the Dawn Chorus Magic walk may have a painfully early start of 4.30 am, but the reward is an incredible dawn chorus in the woods and marshes by the River Yar and is just £2.  Also, for £5 there’s a chance to spot the elusive and native red squirrels on a stunning Red Squirrel Secrets woodland walk, all guided by the red squirrels themselves or indeed spot bats on the Go Batty in The Park walk. 

The official Isle of Wight Walking Festival website has full details of what is in store for walking enthusiasts and how to book spaces on the highly sought-after themed walks.

Getting to the Isle of Wight is easy with Red Funnel. Vehicle Ferries and Red Jet Hi-Speed foot passenger services run regularly around the clock from Southampton, which is within easy reach of the M3 and M27.