Isle of Wight Walking Festival announces events

Isle of Wight
Photo: Charles Stoten/Pixabay

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival returns this October with some old favourites and new additions to offer those who enjoy getting out and about.

The Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival, which takes place from between October 7 to 15, is a popular event for locals and tourists to explore the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that encompasses the entire island.

The majority of walks are led by local volunteers. As space on the walks is limited, booking is recommended.

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival website has been updated with the latest walks and booking information.

New for the 2023 Autumn Walking Festival is a fundraiser for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA).

The 5k Dash in the Dark aims to bring together Walking Festival attendees and supporters of the HIOWAA to raise funds for the charity which is credited with saving many lives on the island and across Hampshire. It costs £15,000 per day to run the service.

Nicole Davies, events fundraiser at HIOWAA, said: “Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is very excited to be a part of this year’s Autumn Isle of Wight Walking Festival, with our night-time 5k event, Dash in the Dark, returning bigger and better than last year. We are incredibly grateful for the support from everyone associated to the Walking Festival, with every penny raised helping us to save lives on the Isle of Wight 365 days a year.”

Also new in 2023 is an opportunity to discover the history of Northwood House, its 23-acre estate and the Ward family’s part in the development of Cowes, followed by an access-all-areas House tour with tea and coffee included. The £10 fee to join the walk will raise money for the charity Friends of Northwood House, which raises funds to keep the historic building open to the public.

Author, historian and walk leader Tim Wanders said: “The Isle of Wight has a truly amazing history, from Romans to radar stations, dinosaurs to great country mansions. The walking festival gives all the walk leaders a great opportunity to take tourists and islanders alike on new adventures, off the beaten track, and show them pieces of our incredible heritage and tell stories of ages past – all mixed with breathtaking views while proving that there is much more to see and do here than festivals and yacht racing!”

A series of ladies-only walks first held during the Spring Walking Festival in May has returned due to popular demand, including a walk over the route of the Isle of Wight half-marathon.

Rachel Richards is the walk leader. She said: “I’m delighted to be leading some more ladies-only walks as part of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival. The spring walks were very popular and introduced the social benefits of walking to a new audience.”

There are three new walks focusing on the environment for the autumn event, and the opportunity to join the growing trend of litter-picking walks.

Vectis Wombles will host a walk in the county town of Newport, while a beach clean with Planet Aware will also take place and there is a litter pick in Sandown, with the Sandown Green Town Volunteers.

The longest walk at event is the Goatober Walk, an 18-mile circular walk from Kingston Smallholding Goat Farm, taking in a lunch stop at Isle of Wight Pearl.

Amy Summers, sustainable travel, trade and exhibitions manager at Visit Isle of Wight, said: “It’s great that we have been able to launch the Autumn Walking Festival with a range of exciting new walks, alongside some firm favourites with walkers.

“This year we have also added the Dash in the Dark event to our programme of walks, which shows our commitment to supporting local charities.”