Hundreds of members of National Trust staff and volunteers across the region will be taking part in a mass walk out on Friday 21 October – to launch the Trust’s first ever Walking Festival, which is running from 22 to 30 October.
The National Trust is responsible for 33,500 acres of land and 50 miles of coastline in the East of England and the charity is very proud to look after some stunning stretches of coastline and countryside. Yet amazingly in a recent survey, only 20% of people realised that The Trust cared for the outdoors. In order to raise the profile of what the charity cares for and encourage people to re-connect to the benefits of going for a walk. Health benefits, time with the family, getting closer to nature or just looking at a breath-taking view are all being offered in the festival.
Our region’s big launch is taking place on Friday 21st at Sutton Hoo. The property is playing host to the Mayor of Woodbridge, the local army regiment, Suffolk Police HQ and local businesses to join them at 8am.
Ickworth staff and volunteers and teachers and children from Ickworth Park Primary School in Horringer, will be enjoying the picturesque views along the canal walk and into the walled garden. Visitors are very welcome to join them from 9am.
Walking is also a great way to get both physically and mentally fit. Dr Jo Barton, a green exercise specialist with the University of Essex, said: ‘The effects of exercising outdoors in natural surroundings can be life changing. This is because of the effect it has on your mood and levels of self-esteem. Research implies this is true regardless of the weather conditions. Even a five minute walk outside to escape your work can energise you and restore your mental fatigue’.
With more than 100 different walks to choose from during the week long nationwide ‘event’, thousands of members of the public are expected to take part in the festival, which will include little ambles, jolly rambles and big challenges – from organised and guided walks to those that can be downloaded in advance.
Visitors will also be able to ‘capture’ their favourite views and upload their photos directly onto our Facebook site via one of the giant frames (using a QR code*). The frames were the original idea of Thomas McKeown, a contemporary furniture design student at Buckinghamshire New University and were created by HM Blundeston Prison.
Those of you on Twitter can ‘tweet’ where they are walking on the day and during the week of the festival – #gonewalking .
Richard Powell, Director for the National Trust in the East of England has also pledged to walk every day of the festival. He said: “Being born and bred in East Anglia I have always enjoyed getting outside and enjoying the abundance that nature has to offer. From a stroll down the road from my house with my family, to a day out on one of our many nature reserves. I have never taken for granted the wildlife, fresh air and stunning views that surround us. I hope that our festival will inspire everyone to get out there and enjoy the outdoors.”
For more details of what participating properties are up to on Friday 21st and for details of all available walks during the festival – please visit