Petersfield Walking Festival
The Downs and Weald will be revealed to tourists and locals alike, at this summer’s inaugural Petersfield Walking Festival. Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, where dramatic chalk scarp meets patchwork weald, heavily wooded sandstone hills and colourful open heath, Petersfield, and its surrounding villages, offer a striking location for this exciting new walking festival.
So, what is a walking festival? Are you likely to see Clare Balding, Julia Bradbury and Kate Humble on stage? Perhaps at some of the larger, more established, walking festivals, yes, where, like large music festivals, other activities have sprung up around the fringe. However, smaller events like Petersfield’s have a series of free, guided walks for groups at their heart. Each day there will be a variety of different walks on offer, varying in length, pace, area and interest. The festival’s aim has been to try to find something to appeal to everyone.
The weeklong event from 20-27 August is for habitual hikers, seasonal striders, weekend wanderers and amateur adventurers alike. Knowledgeable, volunteer leaders have planned: circuits around charming pubs, beauty spots and places of local interest; a selection of wellness, foraging and natural mindfulness strolls; long-distance linear routes, walks with wheels for the disabled and a sunrise hill climb for those who like to start their day with an energy boost; family-friendly ambles to Sky Park Deer Farm and along the river Meon; and a walk and wine tasting at a local vineyard…..to name just a few of the exciting events on the programme.
Neighbouring Alton has had a walking festival for several years and has seen it grow into a successful community event bringing people into the town to enjoy the beauty of the area. Thanks to support from South Downs National Park, Hampshire Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, Petersfield Society and Town Council, we hope the Petersfield festival will have similar success. With more than 40 walks on offer over the 8 days of our first event, we have certainly built solid foundations for future growth. Follow Petersfield Walking Festival on Facebook and Instagram and sign up through the festival website to be sure to hear about the walks programme launch and booking process when it goes live.