Spring Isle of Wight Walking Festival 2023 – first 50 walks released

New routes and perennial favourites are in the programme for the Spring Isle of Wight Walking Festival.

The popular event, which runs between May 13-21, will see over 50 walks lead by local volunteers with a passion for the Isle of Wight.

There are many new additions to the Spring Isle of Wight Walking Festival line-up in 2023, which will see themed walks around a host of subjects, including wellness, wildlife, history and fitness.

Budding artists are encouraged to bring their sketchbook and their favourite materials for an Arty Walk with visual artist and illustrator Lucia Para, where participants learn how to create colourful memories while walking the coastal path around Ventnor.

Roaming with the Romans takes a look at some unusual industrial archaeology, by following in the footsteps of roman farmers with local expert Matthew Chatfield.

Two Shanklin friends will be celebrating their 70th birthdays in an unusual way with the Isle of Wight Walking Festival.

Shanklin Theatre Guides Heather Whitchurch and Jacqui Robertson have decided to celebrate their landmark birthdays in a very unique manner!

Jacqui and Heather will be celebrating the 70th birthdays by walking around the 7 wonders of the Isle of Wight in 7 days, covering 70 miles, hoping to raise £700 for continued renovation of the Grade 2 listed Shanklin Theatre.

Jacqui says:

‘Heather and I are keen walkers and have been Walk leaders for the Isle of Wight Walking Festival since 2019. As we are both turning 70 this year, we thought we could do something to celebrate it using our common interest. And then the 7 theme started: 70 miles in 7 days wandering around the 7 Wonders of the Isle of Wight and raising (hopefully) £700 for Shanklin Theatre. ‘

Jacqui says that the theme hopes to encourage people to experience new places:

‘We initially thought of doing the 70 miles around the Island but we prefer to do circular walks. So the idea came to do walks around the 7 Wonders of the Isle of Wight which non-islanders may not know. The ‘Wonders’ story was created by N J Nigh of Shanklin before the 1st World war. In previous years, we concentrated on doing walks around Shanklin where we are based, but the 7 Wonders gave us the opportunity to create brand new walks and make our walking groups discover new areas.

Many favourite walks return, including part of the Warrior Trail, which takes in the countryside where the original ‘War Horse’ named Warrior spent his days with his owner General Jack Seely. The walk will be led by the General’s descendent, Isle of Wight Member of Parliament Bob Seely.

One of the most popular and important fund-raising events on the Isle of Wight calendar falls during the Spring Walking Festival. Raising money for Mountbatten, the Island’s hospice, Walk the Wight welcomes walkers of all abilities and ages to take part in the event which has a choice of 5 walks ranging from 4 miles, to the iconic 26.5 mile walk across the Isle of Wight.

Amy Summers, Sustainable Travel Manager at Visit Isle of Wight says:

‘We’re delighted to once again be facilitating the Isle of Wight Walking Festival. Last year we welcomed over 2,100 walkers across the Spring and Autumn festival, and we look forward to welcoming more this year.

‘For 2023 we have a variety of walks on offer, catering for those who want to wander and learn about the history of the Island, or those that are looking for a brisk, longer walk to explore our stunning scenery.  The walking festival not only showcases the very best of the Isle of Wight, it also promotes wellness and supports our mission in promoting sustainable travel.

‘Our thanks to the walk leaders, who with all their knowledge and dedication, truly make this event what it is today.’ 

Isle of Wight Walking Festival runs May 13-21

Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival website: https://isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/

Walk the Wight website: https://www.mountbatten.org.uk/Listing/Category/wtw23