Wander in wonder during Spring Bank Holiday’s WalkFest 2016; a series of guided strolls and hikes that shed light on the beauty spots, heritage and wildlife of the North York Moors National Park are in the offing for visitors during a three-day walking festival.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural WalkFest, the North York Moors National Park Authority has lined up experts to lead 13 guided walks, each with a different theme, over the Spring Bank Holiday from Saturday 28 - Monday 30 May.
Families, sauntering strollers and serious striders can take their pick of walks which range from a minibeast treasure hunt through to strenuous 10.5 mile routes across moorland and along the Cleveland Way National Trail.
There’s a real coastal slant during this year’s Festival. Over half the programme explores the coastline, enabling visitors to travel back in time first to the Bronze Age, then to the 16th century when alum production was its height, before fast forwarding to the 18th century when smuggling was rife.
Tranquil spots that are often overlooked such as Hayburn Wyke where woodland hides a waterfall that cascades onto a pebble beach, are also included in the programme, along with a geocaching treasure hunt at Ravenscar.
Further inland, visitors can listen to the yarns that are associated with the Old Wife’s Walk and learn more about just how the Bridestones, the bizarre sandstone rock sculptures, were formed near Dalby Forest.
Alternatively there’s a ‘steam and scones’ walk striking out along part of the original George Stephenson railway line between Goathland and Grosmont before afternoon tea at Hazelwood House and a return journey on a steam train.
For nature lovers, there’s a stroll across Fylingdales Moor or a longer circular walk from Goathland, both in the company of rangers, exploring the flora, fauna and wildlife en-route. The National Park visitor centres at Sutton Bank and Danby are also holding mammal tracking treasure hunts.
For a more leisurely riverside ramble visitors can join the walk to the hamlet of Ellerburn where they can discover more about the ancient church and head to the Tea Cosy Café for lunch before returning to Thornton le Dale.
Sally Ann Smith, Events and Exhibitions Co-ordinator for the North York Moors National Park says: “Last year’s festival was really successful and so we’re pleased to bring together another feast of walks where people can see even the more familiar locations in a new light as well as simply enjoy the surroundings.
“In addition to the circular walks, it’s also an ideal opportunity for visitors to go on a linear route and complete three great sections of the Cleveland Way National Trail where there’s transport organised to take them to the start.”
The guided walks cost between £3 and £15 (this includes return travel on a steam train) and most include refreshments. To book a place and find out more about WalkFest 2016, go to www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/walkingfestival.