New walks for foodies, families and steam enthusiasts at West Midlands festival

Foodies, families and steam enthusiasts are all catered for in a series of new walks at this year's Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival.

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Ironbridge Gorge

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The Festival offers a number of ‘themed’ walks ranging from two to 21 miles covering a whole host of topics from the wonderful landscape and geology of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site to the wildlife that inhabits The Gorge’s ancient woodlands.

The annual festival, which takes place from 5 - 13 May, is now in its 13th year and is consists of 53 free walks.

The walks are graded in terms of suitability from one to five with five beings the hardest and there are walks suitable for all abilities through to walks for experienced countryside walkers.

New for 2018 is an eight-mile steam-train walk taking in the Telford Steam Railway and a four-mile walk that looks at Ironbridge through the eyes of tourists over the past 200 years.

A four-and-a-half-mile walk, encompassing a photo trail around the local woodland has been introduced for families and food-lovers will enjoy the new 10-mile walk that takes in the pretty village of Little Wenlock and its renowned pub, The Huntsman, where lunch will be available.

The Festival begins with a 21-mile walk to the ‘thankful’ village of Harley on the stunning Wenlock Edge. Harley is the only ‘thankful’ village in Shropshire – known as such because all men sent to the First World War returned safely.

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Spring strolls

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Some of the walks are timed to enable carers and parents with school-aged children to participate and there are some evening walks starting at around 6pm (see below for the full timetable).

There are a number of routes for serious walkers, with the aim of providing a challenging but enjoyable day out. They range in length from 12 to 21 miles and mainly involve walking away from roads; some include steep ascents. Walkers will also need to carry enough food and water for the whole day.

There is also an opportunity to complete the 50 or 100-mile challenge in the nine days by completing a series of daily 10 – 15 mile walks. Some of these comprise two walks of six miles each, with a break to allow time for lunch in Ironbridge.

All walks are free, however pre-booking is essential as numbers are limited to a maximum of 20 people. Well behaved dogs on a lead are welcome on some walks, but please check before booking.

To reserve a place or request a copy of the programme contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre by email at tic@ironbridge.org.uk or call 01952 433424.

For more details about the walks visit the website or email info@ironbridgewalking.co.uk.

SATURDAY 5 MAY

Walk 1, 8am – ‘Thankful’ Harley and Wenlock Edge. 21 miles, grade 5
Walk 2a, 9.30am – The Money side. 5 miles, grade 3
Walk 2b, 1.30pm – The Sunny side. 5 miles, grade 3 (can be combined with Walk 2a)
Walk 3, 10am – Steam Trains and Views. 8 Miles, grade 3
Walk 4, 10.30am – Ironbridge though Tourist’s eyes. 4 miles, grade 2
Walk 5, 10.30am – A tour of the Ironbridge Museums. 12 miles, grade 3
Walk 6, 2pm – The Gorge’s Transport History. 4 miles, grade 2

SUNDAY 6 MAY

Walk 7, 8am – Industrial Wenlock (Edge). 20 miles, grade 5
Walk 8, 9.15am – Telford Town Trails. 15 miles, grade 4
Walk 9, 10am – Circular Tour of ‘The Jitties’, Broseley. 4 miles, grade 3
Walk 10, 10am – Birds of the Wrekin. 4 miles, grade 3
Walk 11, 10.30am – Family Walk (Coalbrookdale). 4 miles, grade 3
Walk 12, 2pm – Catch them while you can! 6 miles, grade 2

MONDAY 7 MAY

Walk 13, 8am – South West of the Severn. 20 miles, grade 4
Walk 14, 8.30am – Forgotten Stations and Furnaces. 15 miles, grade 5
Walk 15, 10am – Limekilns New Works. 11 miles, grade 3
Walk 16, 10.30am – Broseley Heritage. 5 miles, grade 3
Walk 17, 2pm – Family Walk (Ironbridge). 4.5 miles, grade 2
Walk 18, 6pm – Pub Walk. 3 miles, grade 2

TUESDAY 8 MAY

Walk 19, 9.30am – The New Shropshire Way through the Gorge. 14 miles, grade 4
Walk 20, 10am – Banghams Wood. 5 miles, grade 3
Walk 21, 10am – Lloyds Coppice and beyond. 6 miles, grade 3
Walk 22, 2.30pm – Buildwas and Little Wenlock. 8 miles, grade 3
Walk 23, 6pm – The Geology and Mining Legacy of the Gorge. 4 miles, grade 2
Walk 24, 6pm – Spectacular Views of Ironbridge. 4 miles, grade 3

WEDNESDAY 9 MAY

Walk 25, 8am – The Ironmen Way. 21 miles, grade 5
Walk 26, 8.30am – The Gorge Before the Industrial Revolution. 15 miles, grade 5
Walk 27, 9.30am – A Walk by the River, an Ancient Church & Wyldwoods. 11 miles, grade 3
Walk 28, 10am – Coalbrookdale Dingles. 3 miles, grade 3
Walk 29, 1.30pm – Benthall Hall Estate and Gardens. 5 miles, grade 2
Walk 30, 6pm – Life and Times of Madeley. 4 miles, grade 2

THURSDAY 10 MAY

Walk 31, 8.30am – Gorge-ous Landscapes. 16 miles, grade 5
Walk 32, 9.30am – Grindleforge and Kemberton Mill. 12 miles, grade 4
Walk 33, 10am – Benthall Edge. 3 miles, grade 3
Walk 34, 1.30pm – Round Coalbrookdale. 6 miles, grade 3
Walk 35, 2pm – Sutton Wood. 3 miles, grade 3
Walk 36, 6pm – Getting to know Broseley and Gerry Foxall. 4 miles, grade 2

FRIDAY 11 MAY

Walk 37, 8.30am – China Man, Green Man and Wyldwoods. 15 miles, grade 5
Walk 38, 10am – Views from the north-side of the Gorge. 4 miles, grade 3
Walk 39, 10.30am – The Geology and Mining Legacy of the Gorge. 4 miles, grade 2
Walk 40, 1.30pm – Pools and a Mediaeval Manor. 7 miles, grade 2
Walk 41, 6pm – Tour of Brewing at All Nations. 4 miles, grade 2

SATURDAY 12 MAY

Walk 42, 8am – The Gorge by Rail. 20 miles, grade 5
Walk 43, 9.15am – The Wrekin ‘Giant’ Walk. 15 miles, grade 5
Walk 44, 10am – Circular Tour of ‘The Jitties’, Broseley. 4 miles, grade 4
Walk 45, 10.30am – A walk to Much Wenlock and lunch with a Huntsman. 10 miles, grade 3
Walk 46, 11am – Madeley Court Nature Ramble. 2 miles, grade 2
Walk 47, 1pm – Lloyds Heritage. 7 miles, grade 3

SUNDAY 13 MAY

Walk 48, 8am – Apley Estate and Terrace Walk. 20 miles, grade 4
Walk 49, 9am – The Madeley Trail. 6 miles, grade 2
Walk 50, 10am – Circular Tour of ‘The Jitties’, Broseley. 4 miles, grade 3
Walk 51, 10.30am – Mindfulness Walk around Coalport and Jackfield. 5 miles, grade 2
Walk 52, 11am – Apley Terrace and Estate Walk. 6.5 miles, grade 2
Walk 53, 1.30pm – Workers, now and then. 6 miles, grade 2

Megan is the owner of Rural Roots PR & Journalism, specialising in rural tourism, where her passion for travel, heritage and a great visitor experience inspired her to start 'The Rural Travel Guide'.

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