Autumn walking festival organisers report huge success

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Organisers of the Autumn Footprints Amber Valley & Erewash Walking Festival say it was a huge success, pulling in more than 1,000 walkers.

The 16-day festival ended on Sunday, September 25, having completed 39 walks of different distances, pace and themes.

The walks, led by volunteers and staff from over 20 organisations, covered every corner of the two boroughs, highlighting their natural beauty, superb scenery, industrial heritage and attractive towns and villages.

Festival coordinator Marion Farrell said: “I am really pleased how well the festival has run again this year. It is a credit to our volunteer walk leaders.

“This festival is a wonderful way to promote awareness of our public footpaths and bridleways through Amber Valley and Erewash. Walking in a group is not only good physical exercise but provides good mental stimulation too.”

The event proved to be very popular with both inexperienced and experienced walkers.

The routes were of varying lengths and gradient, ranging in length from one mile to twelve miles, offering something for everyone no matter what their interests or abilities.

They were all led by knowledgeable local people who are enthusiastic to show off their patch, and Marion paid tribute to the volunteer walk leaders, saying: “Without their enthusiasm this festival would not have been possible.”

Walk leader Robert Mee said: “I led two walks this year for Autumn Footprints and both were really well supported.

“I think this has been one of the best years, despite very hot weather and some heavy showers. I am already planning next year’s walks.”

This festival is jointly organised by a partnership of Erewash Borough Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, Derbyshire County Council, parish councils, community groups and the environmental charity Groundwork Creswell, Ashfield & Mansfield.

All the walks were free of charge, and took place in areas of local heritage and natural history interest, taking walkers alongside rivers and canals as well as residential areas and town centres.

Planning for next year’s festival is already under way, running from September 9-25, 2017. For all the latest developments, check www.autumnfootprints.co.uk.