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Best foot forward for festival of walks

Walking enthusiasts and countryside lovers can experience the breathtaking views and stunning scenery of one of the region’s most picturesque spots, as part of an annual event.

This Saturday sees the start of the fourth Rothbury and Coquetdale Midsummer Walking Festival.

The popular event showcases the area’s unforgettable landscape, amazing wildlife and its rich history and heritage.

The festival has fast become one of the highlights in the walking calendar.

And with this year’s event extended to 20 walks, there is sure to be something on offer for everyone.

Jon Monks, from the festival, said: “This year we thought we would try a number of different things to build on the success of previous years.

“Therefore we have got lots of themed walks including a bat walk, a bush tucker trail and a series of walks taking participants from Ingram over to Rothbury.”

Other walks on this year’s agenda include Nordic walking taster sessions, wildlife walks, treks exploring the remains of old quarries and ancient features and a behind-the-scenes look at Cragside.

Many of the walks will be led by local experts.

Running from June 23 to Saturday, June 30, the festival will culminate in the 13-mile Cragside Challenge Walk – which was introduced last year and received fantastic feedback.

Previous festivals have attracted walkers from all over the country, having quickly earned itself the reputation of being in some of the best walking countryside the region has to offer.

One walker, Kate Price, who travelled hundreds of miles to make the 2011 festival, said: “We came up from Devon last year to Northumberland especially for the Rothbury walking festival and it lived up to and exceeded all the expectations.

“We had heard about it from some friends who also live on the south coast and it tempted us to Northumberland for the first time.

“The challenge walk on the final Saturday was the icing on the cake after a great week of walking.”

More than 400 places have already been snapped up for this year’s event.

But with spaces still available on the majority of walks and activities, there is still time to put your best foot forward and take part in the festival.

Below, is a guide to the festival, with information about what is on offer during the eight-day showcase.

Alternatively, visit or contact 01830 540453.