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Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival offers around 30 free outings (24th January 2012)

Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival offers around 30 free outings

Larger than ever before, the 2012 Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival, which runs from Saturday 5th to Sunday 13th May, features around 30 free guided walks covering a range of interests and abilities. These include some challenging full day outings in and around the glorious Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site as well as family adventures, historic trails and wildlife walks.

The walks are graded into four levels of difficulty ranging from a gentle two-hour family treasure hunt up to a strenuous, 15 mile circular hike over the Wrekin, ideal for more experienced walkers happy with steep climbs and rough terrain.

New for the 2012 Olympic year is a 12 mile walk from the Toll House at Ironbridge into the historic town of Much Wenlock with a chance to visit the local museum and follow the Olympian Trail.  The Much Wenlock Olympian Games, created by local surgeon Dr Penny Brookes in 1850, are said to be the inspiration behind today’s modern Olympic Games.

Other new outings include two walks around the churches and chapels of the Severn Gorge; a circular trail taking in some of the heritage sites of the Gorge and an industrial look at the landscape above Coalbrookdale.

For the more adventurous there are also longer walks along the South Telford Heritage Trail and a circular tour of the Gorge to discover the history of the river bridges, making the festival both more challenging for the experienced walker, and interesting for those wanting to find out more about this beautiful area.

Other highlights include a ‘splendidly spooky’ stroll around a candlelit woodland trail for families, a guided bird walk around Devil’s Dingle with local ornithologist Glenn Bishton and a wildlife and environmental photography walk with technique and species advice. There are also all-ability outings suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs with a commentary on the natural and cultural heritage.

All walks are free but with places limited to between 15 and 20 people, pre-booking is essential. To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at tic@ironbridge.org.uk or call 01952 433424. Additional information is available on www.visitironbridge.co.uk. Well behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on most walks but please check before booking.