Based in and around Maidstone, the Heart of Kent Walking Festival will include countryside walks through villages, in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and the North Downs Way, along riversides, villages and more. From short easy walks to more challenging hilly walks and even a full day’s hike, there will be walks to suit all ages and abilities. Family walks and walks for those on mobility scooters and wheelchairs are also being planned.
The festival is a collaboration of organisations, led by Visit Maidstone from Maidstone Borough Council and include: North Downs Way National Trail & Kent Downs AONB Unit, Kent County Council, Medway Valley Countryside Partnership, Maidstone Ramblers, Medway Ramblers, Kent Wildlife Trust, Long Distance Walks Association and others.
The full programme of walks and booking information will be released soon, and anyone interested is invited to register for the Heart of Kent Walking Festival e-newsletter through the webpage www.heartofkentwalkingfestival.org or follow @HeartofKentWalkFest on Facebook.
Paul Harper, Chairman of the Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee at Maidstone Borough Council said:
"This is an excellent initiative, it will give residents the chance to discover parts of our town and countryside that they don't normally get to, and also get exercise and fresh air as a bonus. I am hoping to lead a walk myself which covers the urban Medway valley and the rural loose valley."
Peter Morris, North Downs Way National Trail Manager said:
“We’re really excited by the Heart of Kent Walking Festival as a welcome addition to our already popular calendar of walking festivals along the North Downs Way. Scheduling in Spring gives the area a distinct offer outside the already traditional walking season through summer.
“The festival is all about enjoying walking; showcasing the beautiful areas we live in, meeting new people and getting fitter and healthier along the way. We hope to make this a regular event and will be encouraging people from all over the country to come to Maidstone for the weekend, staying in local accommodation, enjoying the many pubs, restaurants and cafes on offer and stunning scenery.
“Walking really is great exercise for people of all ages and abilities; it’s one of the easiest ways to get more active, so remember to put the date in your diaries for this exciting weekend of walking.”