Suffolk’s Walking Festival returns in 2021 for its 14th instalment, but this year as the very first Virtual Suffolk Walking Festival.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the guided Suffolk Walking Festival cannot take place, instead the new virtual festival will include self-guided walks with fun facts about Suffolk, family activity sheets, podcasts and videos from around the county.
The festival will also include a ‘My Suffolk, Your Suffolk’ feature of favourite walks, and a competition where you can win 4 tickets to next year’s festival and a year’s subscription to the Suffolk Magazine.
The 10-day Virtual Walking Festival will take place between Saturday 22 May and Monday 31 May and all information can be accessed at suffolkwalkingfestival.co.uk and by facebook.com/suffolkwalkingfestival.
You don’t have to be an avid walker to join the fun as the activities range from short strolls and gentle rambles to some more challenging hikes. Following the increase in popularity of walking over the last 12 months, the festival this year aims to nurture members of the public’s newfound interest in Suffolk’s countryside and the positive impact walking has had on our physical health, mental wellbeing and the environment.
Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:
“In a year when many events and group gatherings are cancelled or considerably reduced I am pleased that the Suffolk Walking Festival 2021 is able to happen in some form.
“The pandemic has encouraged many more of us to go out walking and discover our county’s beautiful countryside and I hope this continues. Walking has so many known benefits for our health and wellbeing.”
David Falk, Green Access Manager, Suffolk County Council, said:
“The Suffolk Walking Festival has so many loyal followers that it would have been a shame to have had to cancel the event for the second year in a row. This is why the whole team behind the event is so delighted and excited to be able to offer our very first virtual walking festival.
“Many of our walk leaders and even some of our followers have got really creative on our behalf, filming their favourite walks and recording the sounds of the countryside. We’re even launching a brand new podcast series all about walking in Suffolk to accompany the event.”
BBC Radio Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin, ambassador for the Suffolk Walking Festival said:
"Although the Suffolk Walking Festival can’t happen as a group activity this year, I`m thrilled it’s going ahead online. Walking is something most of us have been able to do through the lockdowns and so hopefully more of us than ever will have a look and head out on some of the walks that are featured.
"I know many people have discovered places near to their homes that they had never enjoyed before – and this is an opportunity to get out and discover bits of our lovely county that you’ve not visited before. It’s also a chance to tell us about your favourite bits of Suffolk. Getting into our countryside and enjoying the birds, flowers and wildlife is so good for the soul as we have learnt. Happy Walking.”
Suffolk’s Walking Festival is supported by Suffolk councils, many partners and charities including BBC Radio Suffolk, Suffolk Magazine, National Trust and RSPB, and community groups such as Shotley Open Spaces and Clare Country Park.
Members of the public are being encouraged to share their photos and experiences of the festival this year online by using the hastag #SWF21.