The New Forest Walking and Cycling Festival is back this autumn, with experts leading the way on dozens of guided events.
Now in its 10th year, the ever-popular Festival offers a chance for people to connect to nature, experience new things, and learn about the special landscape, habitats and culture of the New Forest.
It’s taking place across the National Park over three weeks from 15 October to 6 November 2022.
It includes the autumn half term holiday so will feature guided walks suitable for people of all ages – including spook-tacular Hallowe’en fun.
A packed programme of events will cover everything from wildlife wanders, fungi spotting, birdwatching and historical trails.
A team of people will be sharing their knowledge from organisations all over the Forest, including National Park Authority staff and rangers, Forestry England, Wild New Forest, New Forest Association, New Forest Ramblers and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Among the new events for 2022 is a photography tour, led by one of our Artists in Residence, Marie Smith in partnership with SpudWORKS.
It ties in with her exhibition We Belong Here, and is a chance to learn about Marie’s process of working as a photographer against the backdrop of the New Forest, and share her experiences of being a BAME person in nature.
The Festival is also a brilliant opportunity to explore the Forest on two wheels.
A number of guided cycle rides will be back once again after being introduced last year to encourage responsible cycling in the New Forest.
All rides follow designated cycle trails across the National Park, and are led by qualified guides catering for all abilities.
If you need help getting into the saddle, inclusive cycling charity PEDALL will be encouraging people on board its extensive range of specialist cycles, developed for people with additional needs.
The charity is also offering confidence rides on two-wheeled bikes.
New Forest National Park ranger Adam Vasey said: ‘The National Park is a wonderful place to walk and cycle during the autumn, with flat, accessible routes that allow everyone to enjoy the Forest’s amazing landscapes and colours.
It’s also easy to travel around car-free to help protect this amazing environment.
‘Participants say they always learn something new on the walks, however well they know the New Forest.
And being outdoors has so many physical and mental health benefits, too.’
The events on the New Forest Walking and Cycling Festival are bookable from 30 September. Many are free, but all places need to be booked, so don’t miss out.
When out in the Forest, please follow the New Forest Code.
For more information about the Walking Festival, and to book a place on a walk or cycle visit newforestnpa.gov.uk/walkingfestival