Wichcombe Walking Festival(Last Updated On: June 5, 2018)
What is it?
The perfect countryside walking weekend for keen ramblers, Winchcombe Walking Festival is an annual three-day event held in May each year, dedicated to exploring this beautiful corner of the Cotswolds on foot. A firm favourite amongst walkers of all shapes, sizes and abilities, every year the festival welcomes hundreds of tourists and locals alike for a celebration of the glorious countryside that surrounds the charming, historic town of Winchcombe; nestled in the heart of the North Cotswolds’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Spread over the course of a weekend in May each year, Winchcombe Walking Festival sees visitors able to take part in a series of planned walks of varied terrains and distances, with routes ranging from relatively simple three-mile strolls to more challenging 14-mile hikes. Every walk is graded according to difficulty and led by an experienced walk leader who talks you through the route, surrounding landscapes and particular points of interest along the way; giving you expert insight directly from locals in the know. Held by the Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers organisation, each year sees a selection of themed walks on offer, too, alongside guest talks from local experts on a range of topics from botany to archaeology.
From historic strolls through the grounds of Winchcombe’s beautiful Sudeley Castle, once home to Henry VIII’s last surviving wife Katherine Parr, to energetic explorations through the surrounding hillsides and villages of this corner of the Cotswolds, the Festival is designed to enable walkers to get to know the beauty of the area at first hand.
Each year, the walking programme is launched around February on the dedicated Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers website, with keen walkers able to book slots on their favourite walks several months in advance. Thanks to the Festival’s ever-growing popularity, places book up quickly each year, so those keen to secure their space are encouraged to act quickly. Prices for each walk start from just £6, making it a great, affordable option for those looking for a low-cost way of exploring the Cotswolds countryside. Ticket fees even go towards local improvements to walking facilities in and around Winchcombe, from signage and leaflets, to benches for much-needed rest-stops.
Who’s it for?
Winchcombe Walking Festival is perfect for walkers of all abilities, from rampant ramblers and die-hard hikers, to those who simply enjoy a gentle stroll in the country. Thanks to the various walks on offer over the weekend graded according to difficulty, attendees are able to choose a walking route to suit their own ability, with accessible routes also available. Great for walking groups, friends, families and lone-walkers alike, the Festival is a great way to get together for a fun weekend in the great outdoors.
When is it?
Winchcombe Walking Festival is held in May each year over the course of a long weekend, Friday- Sunday.
Where is it?
The Festival is centred around the heart of the historic market town of Winchcombe; a charming, creative hub in the heart of the North Cotswolds’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, perched alongside the meandering River Isbourne. Winchcombe Walking Festival includes walks which traverse the surrounding countryside, towns and villages in this area of the Cotswolds, from the steep inclines and rolling fields of the Cotswold Way, to the chocolate-box villages of Temple Guiting and Salperton.
Where can I stay?
We have plenty of beautiful cottages to suit walking groups of all shapes and sizes looking to attend Winchcombe Walking Festival. For larger groups (up to 10), Kingfisher Cottage is the perfect retreat; a home away from home boasting a wonderful riverside location just a five-minute stroll from Winchcombe’s centre, with clean, contemporary interiors, five well-sized en-suite bedrooms and an accessible downstairs bedroom/bathroom for those with limited mobility. Almsbury Farmhouse is also an excellent choice for groups or larger families travelling together to the festival, sleeping up to 12 adults and 2 children across 7 bedrooms, boasting an enviable location on the edge of the stunning Sudeley Estate. For smaller groups or families, Queens Cottage (sleeping 4+2) is a great choice thanks to its contemporary-meets-classic interiors and charming traditional touches, as is Emma Dent Cottage (sleeps 5); named in honour of Emma Dent who started the restoration of Sudeley Castle under Queen Victoria’s reign.
How do I find out more information?
For further information about Winchcombe Walking Festival, including the walks available, annual dates and how to book tickets, visit the dedicated Winchcombe Welcomes Walkers website at www.winchcombewelcomeswalkers.com.