Now in its 11 year, the Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival, Saturday 30th April – Sunday 8th May, is offering nine days of free, varied and rewarding walks in and around Telford’s stunning Ironbridge Gorge, where the Industrial Revolution began over 300 years ago.
The 2016 festival will be marking three important anniversaries; its 30 years since the area was designated as a World Heritage Site back in 1986, while the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, which helps protect and conserve the landscape ensuring it’s accessible to all, begun 25 years ago. The Ironmen and Severn Gilders Morris is also celebrating its 40th anniversary with the 16-mile Ironman Way walk visiting local places that inspired some of their stick dances.
The programme of over 50 graded outings is split into two parts; themed walks and family friendly trails that are mostly under six miles, and long hikes more suitable for regular and experienced walkers. These include the opportunity to cover 100 miles in the nine days, or if this is too much of a challenge, is 50 miles more manageable? (There is the opportunity to complete this over the three day Bank holiday weekend or over the whole Festival).
Among the new walks for 2016 is the six-mile Madeley Ramble around the fringes and green space of Madeley Parish, and Badger, is it all Black & White. Starting from the Coalport YHA café, this 20 mile hike to the hamlet of Badger returns through the Apley Estate by kind permission of Lord and Lady Hamilton.
For the first time the programme includes a social evening event with a Ceilidh, dancing to the local Devil’s Chair band and a hog roast on Saturday, 7th May in the Victoria Hall at Broseley from 7.30pm. To book tickets in advance priced at £10 each visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/227892; they can also be purchased at the door for £12.50, subject to availability.
All walks are free however pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited to 15 - 20 people; well behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on some walks but please check before booking.
To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01952 433 424.