Chesterfield Canal Trust forced to cancel walking festival

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Chesterfield Canal Trust’s popular walking festival has become another event to be lost to Covid-19 after organisers announced it had been cancelled.

The festival started in 2018 and is the largest walking festival based around a single waterway.

More than 40 walks had been arranged and the trust was about to start designing and printing the brochure and setting up the booking system with the Chesterfield Visitor Information Centre.

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However, this would have incurred substantial costs and the continued uncertainty about whether the brochures could be distributed properly – and the fact that a good proportion of the walk leaders and walkers were in clinically vulnerable groups – led the trust to the conclusion that it would be irresponsible to commit to this expenditure and the festival was cancelled.

Walkers enjoying the sun during last year's festival - but this year's has had to be cancelledWalkers enjoying the sun during last year's festival - but this year's has had to be cancelled
Walkers enjoying the sun during last year's festival - but this year's has had to be cancelled | Other 3rd Party

Rod Auton, one of the festival organisers, said: “In a few months attitudes may have changed, but at present the prospect of walks with everyone at least two metres apart, wearing masks and not talking face to face is not what we envisaged when we started organising our festival.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to the dozens of walk leaders and organisations that have put lots of work into preparing this year’s festival.

“We hope that it can be carried over to next year.

“We would also like to thank all those organisations which had sponsored the festival – Avant Homes, Derbyshire County Council Action Grants, the Canal & River Trust, West Stockwith Parish Council, Misterton Parish Council and Eckington Parish Council.”

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This is another blow to the trust which has already cancelled its canal festiva,l which had been due to take place in June.

It has also cancelled all its public boat trips until August at the earliest, but even these are in peril.

Additionally, it's base at Hollingwood Hub, which includes the popular Katey’s Coffee Shop, has been closed since March.

For more information on the trust, including how to support it through donations, or joining it as a volunteer, click here.

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