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Stroll into May with annual Walk Leicester Festival

Published on Thursday, April 29, 2021

walking

A MONTH-LONG festival that celebrates Leicester’s great outdoors will get under way on Saturday (1 May).

Now in its third year, the Walk Leicester Festival aims to get people out and about with a range of ideas that will make walking fun for all ages and abilities.

While COVID restrictions mean that group walks can’t yet resume at full capacity, festival organisers have put together lots of suggestions for digital walks – with a downloadable route – that will inspire families to put on their walking boots and get outdoors.

Thanks to a downloadable audio guide, people will be able to discover the stories of the city’s medieval past while they enjoy a walk around De Montfort University’s modern-day campus.

There’s also an audio guide to help walkers find out more about the River Soar and its wildlife, while another suggested walking route takes in the nature-inspired murals that brighten up the city stretch of the Grand Union Canal.

Other self-guided walking routes include a tour of the Georgian architecture around St Martin’s, a peaceful route from Belgrave Library to Ellis Meadows, or a walk through Leicester’s Castle Hill Country Park.

Children will be challenged to learn while they walk, thanks to a colourful downloadable resource pack created by Living Streets – the charity behind the annual Walk to School Week.

Activities for 4-11 year-olds include an I-Spy game and a Scavenger Hunt, which encourages youngsters to look out for plants, animals, birds and even street furniture while they’re out walking.

There’s also fun to be had with Leicester’s clean air champion Clean Air Clive. The puppet pioneer has been out and about visiting iconic Leicester landmarks – and he wants to encourage local children to discover them too.

Clean Air Clive’s Walking Tour of Leicester can be downloaded here

Both adults and older children will enjoy a series of quiz trails, including a 2-mile walking tour around Clarendon Park – while those who don’t feel ready to leave their homes just yet can experience a virtual walk around two of Leicester’s loveliest natural spaces: Aylestone Meadows and Watermead Country Park.

As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, and offices start to reopen, people are being encouraged to walk to work if they can and enjoy their local environment on foot, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines.

“For many people, a walk in the local park was one of the few pleasures of lockdown – and it’s something that’s now become an important part of their daily routine,” said deputy city mayor for the environment, Cllr Adam Clarke.

“But for others, who may have been shielding and staying at home as much as possible, it’s only now that they’re beginning to think about exploring their surroundings again.

“I hope that the Walk Leicester Festival will give us all the boost we need to reconnect with the world around us.

“Whether you go for a stroll around the streets of Leicester’s Old Town, or explore the city’s waterways, the important thing is to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors.”

The month-long festival will also incorporate Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May), by focusing on the benefits of walking on people’s wellbeing, and Walk to School Week, which runs from 17-21 May.

The Walk Leicester Festival routes have been created by Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, DMU Special Collections and DMU Heritage. 

More information can be found at choosehowyoumove.co.uk/walkleicester or by following Choose How You Move on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms, where details of the prizes up for grabs will be posted.

People can also sign up for the Walk Leicester newsletter, if they’d like to receive regular information about other led and virtual walks throughout the year.