Bathscape has released the programme of walks for its popular annual walking festival, encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the landscape during the two weeks of events in September.
This year’s festival will be launched with a family day in Kensington Meadows on Saturday 11 September in partnership with Cleveland Pools Trust. There will be plenty of nature-based activities including wild play from the Bath Area Play Project and a new walking trail suitable for all ages from Cleveland Pools Trust.
The festival programme includes a range of themes and difficulty levels to suit walkers of all abilities. The walks will be in small groups with stopping points, while others will be self-guided trails for which people can download a map.
Councillor Jess David, cabinet assistant for Neighbourhood Services said: “The walking festival has been running for the past four years and is always very popular with residents and visitors alike. It’s a great way to explore some of the fabulous countryside in our area as well as the more hidden stories of the city. This year we have a huge range of walks, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
History buffs can learn about industrial heritage on a walk from Paulton to Dundas following the Limestone Link and the route of the Somersetshire Coal Canal, which was built to carry coal down to the Kennet and Avon Canal. (There’s the option of a minibus back to Paulton after the walk.)
Outside the city, there are plenty of rural hikes to explore the countryside around Upper Swainswick, Weston, Lansdown, North Stoke, Kelston, Somer Valley and Combe Down, just remember to pack your lunch and a bottle of water.
New for this year are walks tracing the story of Bath’s LGBTQ+ lives, activism and community, uncovering the city’s links to the Transatlantic slave trade, and telling the history of the Southdown housing development, seen as a model neighbourhood.
Popular walks led by local experts are a mainstay of the festival and this year include: The Circus with Kirsten Elliott, Ralph Allen’s Garden with Robin Dixon, Beckford’s Landscape with Amy Frost, Sydney Gardens with Richard White, the Victorian Way of Death with Molly Conisbee and the Hidden Corners of Bathwick with Andrew Swift.
As usual the festival will close with the Julian House Circuit of Bath walk on Sunday 26 September. A 20-mile challenge offering stunning views and landscapes across the city in aid of charity. Places get booked up fast, so reserve yours now. This is also a great way to celebrate 50 years of the Cotswold Way.
Bathscape’s Walking Festival will run 11-26 September and will also be promoted as part of the councils Climate and Biodiversity Festival which runs 13-26 September. Bathscape’s work is largely funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.