Here’s your chance to put a spring in your step with a special Torbay event.
The new English Riviera Spring Walking Festival will take place from April 22 to 29. Building on the success of last year’s autumn event, the festival features more than 20 fun and fascinating walks, led by a team of enthusiastic local experts.
The English Riviera BID Compay, in partnership with Torbay Council, has created the new event that will appeal to walkers of all abilities and interests. Typically, a walk will last between two and three hours and most are dog friendly. There is even a ‘Wagging Tails Trail’ created especially for four-legged friends and their owners.
The festival is a highlight of the resort’s packed events programme and features walks that explore just about every aspect of the Bay’s remarkable history and heritage. Most of the routes are circular and take in Torquay, Paignton, Brixham walks and Berry Head, with several following the spectacular South West Coast Path.
Carolyn Custerson, CEO of the ERBID Company, said: “With more and more of us wanting to enjoy the great outdoors, we are absolutely delighted to launch this fantastic new programme of over 20 expertly guided coastal walks as part of our recently launched Spring and Autumn English Riviera Walking Festivals, designed for everyone to enjoy.”
Such is the significance of the remarkable geology of the English Riviera, it was declared a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2007. For anyone interested in the geological journey that helped to shape our Bay over hundreds of millions of years, Nick Powe, the director of Kents Cavern will be leading a ‘UNESCO Geopark Coastal Walk,’ which starts at the caves and takes in some jaw-dropping vistas along the spectacular Bishop’s Walk.
History lovers will also be spoilt for choice, with a number of guided walks exploring the Bay’s fascinating past over the centuries. Take a step back in time and join the ‘Pirates, Smugglers and Explorers Walk’ around Brixham, which promises to uncover the fishing town’s more colourful past. Or join the ‘Torquay Through Time Walk’ that traces the evolution of the town from a humble fishing community to the richest town in Britain.
Two of the Bay’s most important industries remain fishing and tourism. With this in mind, the ‘England’s Seafood Coast Walk’ looks at Brixham’s fishing traditions and how the town became the largest fishing port in England. Meanwhile, ‘The Great British Seaside Walk’ takes people on a coastal perambulation, discovering the history behind some of the things we most associate with seaside holidays, from beach huts to deckchairs and saucy postcards to 99 Flakes.
A number of famous authors and poets have visited the Bay over the years and the ‘Writer’s on the Riviera Walk’ introduces some of these literary luminaries, including Mary Shelly, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord Tennyson, TS Eliot and Charles Dickens. Torquay’s most famous literary daughter, Agatha Christie is also well represented in the festival, with several walks taking in her life in the Bay and the inspirations behind many of her most famous novels.
The walks are very much about being social and many of them finish somewhere where people can enjoy refreshments.
A more challenging route has also been introduced for the spring event. ‘The South West Coast Path Challenge’ covers 12 miles over terrain which varies from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’ and should only be attempted by experienced and fit walkers.
Graham Kerr, English Riviera Walking Festival organiser and local walking expert, said: “Last year, we took a tentative step forward to establish the English Riviera’s first walking festival. We shouldn’t have had any concerns. Our guests’ feedback was universally positive. They loved our inspiring landscapes, breath-taking coastlines and the passion of our local guides. This year we plan to double our efforts with two walking festivals in April and September and we can’t wait to welcome walkers to this beautiful ‘corner’ of South Devon.”
Visitors are being encouraged to make a weekend of it (or longer) and book your accommodation through the dedicated website. Spaces are limited for this exclusive walking event and which is without a doubt a fun, social and informative way of exploring the English Riviera.
For more information and to book your walk/s on the 2023 ERBID English Riviera Spring Walking Festival visit: www.rivierawalking.co.uk