Best foot forward for ramblers this Christmas

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People in the East Midlands are being invited to step out with the Ramblers during its free, annual Festival of Winter Walks (December 17-January 8), where walkers across the country will leave footprints in the snow as they explore Britain at its wintry best.

With more ways than ever to get involved in Britain’s biggest winter walking festival, there’s something for everyone in the East Midlands to enjoy. Starting in the build up to Christmas, the Festival of Winter Walks marches right into the New Year, with the following range of free activities on offer:

Ramblers groups will be leading hundreds of free walks taking place all over Britain. These range from short festive strolls to blow away the cobwebs, right up to whole day hikes to kick-start New Year’s resolutions, and everything in between.

Short health walks in England, perfect for anyone taking their first steps into walking. In England people can join Walking for Health, England’s largest network of health walk schemes, delivered in partnership by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support.

For those who prefer to walk alone, or lead their own walks, festival routes are available from Ramblers Routes, an online library of more than 2,500 of Britain’s best walks.

The Ramblers’ director of walking development, Simon Barnett, said: “Winter is one of the best times to go out for a walk. There’s something truly magical about putting on your hat and gloves, heading out with your loved ones and perhaps even being the first person to leave footprints in the snow.

“Our popular Festival of Winter Walks is our Christmas gift to the nation, so that everyone in the East Midlands can enjoy the wonders of a winter walk. Our walks during the festival are free, fun, friendly and open to everyone, so wrap up warm and join us as we enjoy the season the way we know best, on our feet.”

The Ramblers has also launched a free online tracker that allows people to log their walking activity, helping people to get active and stay on track with New Year’s resolutions.

Designed to suit both the seasoned walker and someone taking their first steps, there are lots of badges and rewards for walking regularly, completing long distances and reaching particular milestones. It could be walking every day in a month, completing the equivalent of the length of the Cotswold Way or even earning a Santa badge for walking on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Simon added: “The Festival of Winter Walks is free and open to everyone, but anyone who gets the walking bug can visit www.ramblers.org.uk/become-a-member to find out more about becoming a Ramblers member. Our members enjoy access to over 45,000 group walks led by our volunteers each year, as well as exclusive walking routes that can be downloaded and quarterly editions of Walk magazine. Your membership will also be helping to protect the region’s footpaths for generations to come.”

For further information about the Festival of Winter Walks and to browse the festive walks or routes on offer visit www.ramblers.org.uk/winterwalks.