Success of autumn Isle of Wight Walking Festival will see TWO in 2022

The recent Isle of Wight Walking Festival (October 9 – 22) has been hailed such a success, leading to the extension of the popular event over two separate dates in 2022 – spring and autumn.

With more than 100 walks available, this year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival – organised by Visit Isle of Wight – saw over 1600 people take part, from the shortest walk at 0.5 miles for the ‘Wessex Cancer Trust Starlit Trail’ at Ventnor Botanic Garden and the longest walk at 18.5 miles from Kingston Smallholdings for the annual celebration of all things goat – ‘Goat-ober’.

This year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival saw the combined distance of walks reach 413 miles, criss-crossing the island which was given UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status in 2019. Feedback from walkers has been overwhelmingly positive.

A survey revealed at least 39% of those taking part were visitors to the Isle of Wight, taking advantage of the good weather and stunning views offered by the Island in autumn. The Walking Festival also proved popular with residents, bringing together tourists and locals in a friendly celebration of the great outdoors and our unique Island landscape.

Created with the aim of extending the traditionally quieter ‘shoulder’ season, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival has proved a popular event. It was rescued from certain doom in 2017 by Visit Isle of Wight, along with valuable support from local tourism businesses.

Organisers of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival said:

‘We are very grateful to our walk leaders and volunteers who made this year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival such a successful event, with amazing support from the local businesses. It was fantastic to see so many visitors and locals discovering the best of the Island on foot.’

Ian Griffiths, Chairman of Visit Isle of Wight, led 5 walks over this year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival:

‘It was a delight to curate and lead five walks for this year’s Isle of Wight Walking Festival, with walkers from both the island and the mainland joining me, we managed to all enjoy the stunning and often missed scenery the Isle of Wight has to offer.’

Now we are being asked to ‘save the date’ following the positive feedback in 2021, as Visit Isle of Wight will introduce two walking festivals in 2022, one under the warming sun in May and a second under fiery canopies of October.

The newly confirmed dates for 2022 will see the spring festival between 7-15 May and an autumn festival from 8-16 October, with more opportunities to discover the beautiful Isle of Wight at different times of nature’s calendar.

The spring Isle of Wight Walking Festival will this year include the popular fundraising event supporting the local hospice Mountbatten ‘Walk The Wight’ on May 8, which sees a variety of walks open to all including the 26.5 mile trek from one side of the Isle of Wight to the other!

Nigel Hartley, Mountbatten CEO said:

‘We are delighted to be working alongside Visit Isle of Wight to bring the Walking Festival and Walk the Wight together again.

‘We know many visitors like to take part in our iconic walk and we know that as an Island, we rely so heavily on them choosing us as a destination.

‘It makes complete sense to offer lots of opportunities and hope they will come and explore, support our economy but also support our Island hospice.

‘After an incredibly difficult 18 months, we are really determined to get Walk the Wight back to its very best and this will certainly help us do that.’

IWWF21 stats:

  • How many days – 14
  • Total number of Walks – 107
  • Longest walk – 18.5 miles ‘Goatober’
  • Shortest walks – 0.5 miles ‘The Strand Line Walk for families’ with Planet Aware and the ‘Wessex Cancer trust Starlit Trail’
  • Total number of Walk Leaders – 54
  • Combined total distance of walks – 413
  • How many walks held North / South / West and East -North – 12
  • South – 27
  • East – 31
  • West – 22
  • Central – 15
  • Total number of walkers 1,683
  • Breakdown Island / Rest of UK – 61% Isle of Wight and 39% Rest of UK

Video from Visit Isle of Wight about the Walking Festival