Walking festival will be biggest yet

THE tenth North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival will be the biggest yet with 84 guided walks on offer from Thursday, April 29 to Friday, May 7.  It s one of a series of events taking place within the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beau

THE tenth North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival will be the biggest yet with 84 guided walks on offer from Thursday, April 29 to Friday, May 7.

It's one of a series of events taking place within the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Its designated area extends from the Exmoor boundary at Combe Martin down to the Cornish border at Welcombe.

Several of the walks will be guided by members of the AONB team whose specialist knowledge will help explain more about the area and the work they carry out.

The other festival outings will cover most of North Devon and Exmoor with guided walks ranging from a short half-day up to a full day's hike, so there is something for most abilities.


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Around half of the walks are new for 2010 such as the afternoon Art and Nature walk and the Braunton on the Move, Explorer Walk, which will make use of the North Devon AONB's handheld multi-media GPS controlled device. Combe Martin Silver Trails, will take in the deep cut pathways for the horses that once carried ore to the harbour, while an Exmoor National Park ranger led walk will visit Clicket, an abandoned hamlet in a fairly remote part of the moor.

Exmoor safaris are also being included for the first time taking you onto the moor in a Land Rover searching for its wildlife. Experienced drivers know the best places to look for the rare breed Exmoor pony and red deer and there will be opportunities to take photographs and look through binoculars.

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Other special walks include the regular trip to Lundy Island, which this year it will be an all-day outing departing at 8.15am and returning around 8.30pm to Bideford. This means that there is much more time on the island to explore. There are also the popular photographic walks with two professional photographers, which provide a great chance to experience how the professionals capture coastal scenes at Hartland Quay and the landscapes at Exmoor's highest point near Dunkery Beacon.

This year some of the outings link in with public transport timetables, which mean you can come to the area without your car and enjoy some linear and circular walks. There are also an increased number of walks that include lunch and a cream tea as many walkers enjoy a foodie break - and you can walk it off afterwards!

Last year the new autumn walking festival proved popular so that it's being repeated this year. The dates are 1st to 4th October, which coincides with the Exmoor Food Festival - some great food walks are being planned amongst others.

There are a couple of free welcome walks on the opening day, otherwise prices range from �4.50 up to �36 for the day trip to Lundy including the boat fare; most of the outings are family friendly and well behaved dogs are welcome on many of the walks.

To find out more and to book your walks for the spring walking festival, visit website www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk. A festival brochure is available by emailing bryan@activeexmoor.co.uk giving your name and address or call 01271 883131.

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