Pendle prepares for walking festival

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Walkers across the UK will be getting out their walking boots ready for this year’s Pendle Walking Festival in September.

Thousands are expected to head to Pendle for the festival packed with 80 free guided walks.

Starting on Saturday, September 3rd, the festival gives walkers of all abilities an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful countryside of this part of Lancashire.

Mike Williams, Pendle Council’s Tourism Officer, said: “Over the last eight years, Pendle Walking Festival has gone from strength to strength. We’re so proud of it – it’s been runner-up in the Best Tourism Event category in the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards.

“But we’re most proud it attracts thousands of walkers from all across the UK – and beyond – to stunning Pendle.

“The festival offers a great choice of guided walks of varying lengths in Pendle’s excellent walking country. And all the walks are free!”

This year’s festival will run from September 3rd-11th.

From easy walks of two miles to challenging ones of 14 miles, there is something for everyone.

A popular part of the festival programme is Pendle’s version of the Three Peaks Challenge – that’s Pendle, Boulsworth and Weets. There is also the challenge of walking the 45-mile Pendle Way over four days.

With the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches on the horizon in 2012, there are three Witches Trail walks throughout the festival. There’s also a choice of pub walks, which take walkers between pubs to sample the beers, most of which are CAMRA approved.

New for 2011 is the launch of Colne on Saturday, September 10th, as a “Walkers are Welcome” designated town with a walks in and around the town, including the new Castercliff Circular walk, once the site of an Iron Age fort.

The festival is being promoted on social networking site Facebook. Search for Pendle Walking Festival Facebook page to network with other walkers.

The festival will be launched by Mayor of Pendle Coun. Nadeem Ahmed on September 3rd at 10 a.m. at Barley car park.

Coun. Jonathan Eyre, who is responsible for tourism in Pendle, said: “We think the festival is the largest free event of its kind in the UK.

“Every year it attracts people from far and wide and I’m sure this year will be no different.

“Pendle is so popular with walkers, with its fascinating landscape and stunning scenery.

“Tourism is big business in Pendle and the festival is a great way of attracting more visitors to the area to show them all that we have to offer.”

Free Pendle Walking Festival programmes, which contain information about the walks, are available to download from www.visitpendle.com.

Programmes are also available in hard copy by calling 661981.