Get your boots on for walking festival

NRHNBE110910a1, Launch of the autumn footprints Amber valley and erewash walking festival with the mayors of Amber valley cllr Ron Ashton  and the mayor of erewash cllr Kevin Miller.
NRHNBE110910a1, Launch of the autumn footprints Amber valley and erewash walking festival with the mayors of Amber valley cllr Ron Ashton and the mayor of erewash cllr Kevin Miller.
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Summer may not have happened this year and the weather may have forced many of us to change our plans and stay indoors.

But as autumn begins, so too does the tenth annual Autumn Footprints walking festival across Erewash and Amber Valley.

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'A rambler at Edale, Derbyshire, before the walk on Tuesday to commemorate the 80th anniversary (to the exact day -  24 April 1932) of the Kinder Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout, near Hayfield, Derbyshire. The trespass led to the CROW (Countryside and Rights of Way) Act of 2000 which now allows the right to walk in open countryside. 'PICTURE TAKEN ON TUESDAY 24 APRIL 2012

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'A rambler at Edale, Derbyshire, before the walk on Tuesday to commemorate the 80th anniversary (to the exact day - 24 April 1932) of the Kinder Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout, near Hayfield, Derbyshire. The trespass led to the CROW (Countryside and Rights of Way) Act of 2000 which now allows the right to walk in open countryside. 'PICTURE TAKEN ON TUESDAY 24 APRIL 2012

And with the biggest ever programme of organised, themed walks, you almost have no choice but to join in, get out and about and see some of the delights on your own doorstep.

And, as Marion Farrell from organisers Groundwork Derbyshire explained – it’s good for you too.

“One of the aims of the festival is to encourage people to get more active and enjoy the countryside,” she said.

“Walking is such a good way to improve your health and on these guided walks you will learn some fascinating facts.”

One of the festival walks will be entirely on trampers through Shipley Country Park

One of the festival walks will be entirely on trampers through Shipley Country Park

Some of the two boroughs’ most celebrated landmarks, including Shipley Country Park, the Erewash Canal and Heage Windmill, feature in the programme of 40 walks – all free of charge.

But also some hidden gems that many residents may not be aware of will be on offer, such as the fantastic views of south Derbyshire from the Sandiacre countryside, the historical points of interest around West Hallam, or the abundance of wildlife at Straw’s Bridge in Kirk Hallam.

“This walking festival is a fantastic way to see more of your local area,” added Marion.

“Each walk has two leaders – there is plenty of time to chat and admire the views.”

NILALM110310C5 - Straws bridge Ilkeston

NILALM110310C5 - Straws bridge Ilkeston

An estimated 1,000 people joined in last year’s walks and this year’s 16-day programme promises something for everyone.

There are easy two-mile strolls, such as an introduction to Nordic walking in Shipley Country Park on Saturday’s launch day.

And also more strenuous rambles such as on Wednesday when Amber Valley Ramblers will guide walkers on a seven-mile trek along the eastern side of Crich.

The festival launches on Saturday September 8 in Shipley Country Park with a 2.5-mile walk, taking a close look at the trees of the park and the folklore associated with them.

NEAA 18-06-12 BE 9 Langley Mill Basin, Erewash Canal.

NEAA 18-06-12 BE 9 Langley Mill Basin, Erewash Canal.

Later on Saturday there will be a walk organised by the Friends of Stanton Road Cemetery around the Ilkeston graveyard.

There will also be a chance to explore the beautiful Derwent Valley from Whatstandwell train station.

On Sunday join Shipley park rangers for a wildlife walk and on Monday Erewash Ramblers will take walkers around the high points of Little Eaton.

It is recommended that walkers book their places in advance as spaces are limited and demand is set to be high.

To book a spot or to get a copy of the full programme call Marion at Groundwork on 01773 535232, or log on to www.gdd.org.uk.

Alternatively get a bit of walking practice in and pick one up from Shipley Country Park visitor centre.

Look out for more updates from the festival in future editions of the ‘Tiser.