Festival celebrates Peak District landscape

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The untamed beauty of the Peaks is the star attraction of an annual walking festival, designed to show off what the area has to offer.

The Peak District Walking and Outdoor Festival is taking place between April 26 and May 12.

Cath Lee

Cath Lee

There will be more than 100 events and walks for people to take part in, all highlighting the area’s rich heritage and varied landscapes – from the windswept moors to the limestone dales.

David James, chief executive of tourism board Visit Peak District, which organises the festival, said: “With the quality of the landscape on our doorstep, I cannot recommend enough to people the virtues of getting on your walking boots and hitting the trails and tracks of the Peak District.

“This year, we hope for the Peak District Walking and Outdoor Festival to be bigger and better than ever, with a range of new and exciting events which aren’t just about putting one foot in front of the other.

“From bat safari to rock climbing, there’s a fresh air activity for everyone this spring.”

This year the festival, sponsored by Hi Tec and Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens, features some new events such as a four–day trek along the scenic Derwent Valley Heritage Way, and beginners caving and bush craft.

Cath Lee, who owns Peak Walking Adventures, has been involved with the festival for three years.

This year she is running ten guided walks around the national park.

She commented: “It’s usually fairly successful. I’ve had enquiries from all over the country. The walking festival is nice because it does get quite a few local people involved.

“With my own business I tend to find that most people are from elsewhere in the country, such as London.

“The walking festival does tend to attract a few more local people but equally I have had enquiries from Australia and Latvia - so word is getting round the globe that the festival is a good thing.”

Two of the walks Cath is running incorporate Peak District produce and food.

The Edges and Ice Cream walk on May 18 explores the Dark Peak and visits the home of Hope Valley Ice Cream, in Hathersage.

“It’s a farm that uses the milk from its own cows to make the ice cream,” Cath explained

“The lady from the farm is going to talk to us about the ice cream making process and then we get to try some.”

Her Tideswell School of Food White Peak Walk on 
May 19 takes in Tideswell School of Food, where walkers will get the chance to walk around its kitchen garden, before trying some homemade soup.

Some other attractions of the festival include the Walk for All on April 28, which has routes ranging from five miles to 25 miles, in aid of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal and other charities.

There are even films about walking on offer at Castleton YHA, where on April 27 people can settle down and watch two multi–award winning walking films.

For further information on the festival, visit www.
visitpeakdistrict.com/events/PDWalkingFestival.aspx.