29 Apr 2016

Public Health

Crowds come out to launch Bristol Walk Fest 2016

Pictures from yesterday's event available from links at the bottom of the press release and from the council's website news.bristol.gov.uk/crowds-come-out-to-launch-bristol-walk-fest-2016/. More available upon request.

Groups of people were out wandering around Bristol yesterday to help launch Bristol Walk Fest 2016.

The UK’s biggest urban walking festival launched today with a Compass Walk that reached across the whole city.

The event was made up of four different walking routes from four corners of the city.  The routes left from Shirehampton, Lockleaze, Hartcliffe and Hengrove. 

Local walking enthusiast and contributor on BBC Springwatch, Ed Drewitt, joined walkers for the last leg of the North West route from Redland Parish Church to Millennium Square.    

Ed said: “I am delighted to have been invited to help launch Bristol’s fourth walking festival.  Walking is a brilliant way of exercising and exploring the world around us.  I have led some of the festival walks in the past and always enjoy joining the groups to discover more of the city and what lives within it. 

“Well done to everyone who came out to support our Compass Walk.   I hope to see plenty of you and others taking a stroll as part of this festival throughout May.”

Over a hundred pupils from New Fosseway School, Stoke Park Primary School and St. Peter’s C of E Primary School also took part for the national walk to school campaign run by Living Streets.  WoW (Walk once a Week) encourages children to walk to school by rewarding those who walk at least once a week with collectable badges.   

Kelly Theis, Project Coordinator for Bristol, Living Streets said: “These pupils have achieved a lot since taking part in WoW and increased the walking rates at their school.  Bristol Walk Fest is a great opportunity to celebrate their hard work.

“Walking is an easy and free way for children and families to get active and stay healthy. The festival gives a chance for all Bristol residents to experience the same health and social benefits of walking that these schools’ pupils are.”

The walks all met at Millennium Square where Bristol City Council’s director for public health, Becky Pollard, was waiting to congratulate and thank them all for taking part.

Becky Pollard said: “Walking is a great activity.  It can keep you fit as a form of exercise and it can also improve your immune system, keeping you healthy. Aside from this it is also a great way of exploring the city, meeting new people and improving your own wellbeing. 

“I want to encourage everyone to get out and about this May to sample the varied and exciting range of walks going on across the city. Whether you’re interested in history, the local wildlife stories or want to learn a new craft there is something for you in our jam-packed program.”

The Bristol Walk Fest 2016 runs from 1-31 May. There are a huge range of walks available throughout the month with a selection to choose from every day.

Aside from walking, the festival offers a chance to learn some new foraging tips, practice Nordic walking, pick up a new craft, practice Qi-Gong, Tai Chi and much more.  There is also the opportunity to explore areas all across Bristol and beyond; from Abbot’s Pool to St George’s Park; from a creepy after dark tour of Arnos Vale Cemetery to a dawn chorus stroll through Prior’s Wood. 

For the more adventurous walkers there are even opportunities to take part in hikes further afield in the Mendips and even the Cotswolds.

Further details about the walks are available online (www.bristolwalkingfestival.co.uk).  You can also pick up a printed programme from your local library or Bristol’s Tourist Information Centre.