Stunning views, rolling hills, great company and almost infinite variety - from a 53 mile stomp to a short “Reptile Ramble” laid on by the local Amphibian Group - the White Cliffs Walking Festival returns over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Over 40 walks are being offered, catering for everyone from high-grade sporting types who cover the ground like Usain Bolt, to those who would rather chat, gaze and amble through the glorious Kent countryside.
Now in its 3rd year, the preparations for the 2015 Festival are well in hand and the theme is very much walks for all: long walks, short walks, fun walks, scenic walks, historic walks, geotrails walks and walks for all the family. Each one guaranteed to be more than a walk - an experience.
The White Cliffs Geotrail, in particular, has proved to be a very popular hit with one happy visitor describing the experience as: “Amazing views, breathtaking scenery, fun caches, interesting location and fascinating history….it had the lot. Brilliant!”
For those coming to Geocaching for the first time, it can be pictured as an international treasure hunt on foot designed to take people to points of interest or spectacular places they might have otherwise have missed. Geocachers must be registered members to take part, but the process is easy and free - Find out more.
Walk leaders are currently preparing the walks, ensuring that all paths are clear by enlisting the help of the group’s own vegetation clearance teams, who help plug the gap after local authority cutbacks in this area. They may also be checking out the proximity of wonderful refreshment establishments, including pubs and tearooms that specialise in welcoming the thirsty walker.
Key to the popularity of the Festival, which catered for over 1,000 walkers last year, has been the dedicated web master which allows would-be walkers to book any of the 41 walks from an online programme and receive a confirmatory email, reducing phone bills and relieving stress all round. An active and ingenious social media team is also ramping up the promotion of the event.
A team of committed volunteers, led by Helena and Lesley, two former school teachers, head up the Walking Festival Committee and are further supported by over 40 enthusiastic White Cliffs Members.
For those who like their information in video form the organisers have a great video. View it on the White Cliff Walking Festival website or on Youtube.
The organisers expect record-breaking numbers this year with both local residents and those from afar being enticed to explore a wonderful area in a variety of guises. Whether walkers fancy a long stroll over cliff-tops and countryside or a fascinating wander through the old smuggling town of Deal, the White Cliffs Festival 2015 will offer it all.
Funded by grants from Kent County Council, local councils, the Up On The Downs Project and the Lottery fund, and further boosted by the local Stagecoach bus company, the Festival is here to stay.
Photo: Karen Roe