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Ironbridge Walking Festival

600 walkers have covered over 5200 miles during the 10 days of the 10th Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival. The week started well in the dry and people set off on their individual missions, some to learn more of the history and ecology of the area and some of the more intrepid on either the 50 or 100 mile challenges.

The perfect weather brought more people out over the Bank Holiday weekend and a flurry of late bookings an afternoon stroll around the Watercourses of Coalbrookdale doubling its take up in the last 24 hours. Even our pets got the opportunity to take advantage of the sunshine and 4 joined us through the Wild Garlic.

A group of over 20 managed to wander through Ironbridge on Monday and learned about the transport history and how the different methods changed the makeup of the area.

Bubbling under these highly informative walks there is a small core of hardened walkers, out every day into different parts of the area, they are well on course for their individual challenges, many having covered 40+ miles already.

How can a walking event in the Gorge not give an accurate description of the works being carried in Jackfield, so Neal Rushton from Telford and Wrekin Council has taken two groups through the works and explained, in layman’s terms exactly what is being carried out and, as importantly, why.

By Wednesday the weather had changed but the enthusiasm of the walkers was not diminished groups of 10+ ventured into the more outlying areas of the surrounding countryside, from the summit of the Wrekin in one direction to Linley Green in the opposite or even into Telford Town Park. However the largest group is out to learn about the architectural makeup of the town of Ironbridge.

Who can fail to be moved by the faces of the children as they cross the bridge in Loamhole Dingle and there to greet them is the Gruffalo, another huge success.

As the week came to a close the group of walkers continued to reach their goals and on Sunday were met by the Chairman of the Gorge Parish Council, Councillor the Reverend Keith Osmund-Smith who presented seven people with medals and certificates for completing 50 miles, and then with a flourish 13 with medals and certificates having covered over 100 miles. Including in this group is Andy Kirk from Shawbirch who has used the Festival to assist in his recuperation after a stroke and is visually impaired but refused to be beaten. Notwithstanding the mileage a quick calculation, most will have also climbed the height of Everest in the 10 days.

The Festival has been another outstanding success, our thanks goes out to all those who have made it possible, the companies and organisations who make donations to pay for the event; the staff and volunteers in the different venues who have made us feel so welcome. Finally we must as the biggest thank you to all the volunteer Walk Leaders and their assistants who give up their time not only during the Festival but throughout the year to ensure that a varied programme is offered.

The 2016 draft programme will be available on this site towards the end of November 2015 and the final programme will be published early 2016 when booking will be possible.

We look forward to seeing old friends and new walkers between 30 April and 08 May 2016. If you would like to know more about the Festival please contact ironbridgewalking@btinternet.com.

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