Haltwhistle is the Centre of Britain, equi-distant from the north coast of Scotland and the south coast of England, from the Solway to the west and the North Sea to the east. It is also in the centre of some of the best walking countryside in the country, with a huge variety of national trails, open access land, forestry paths and other footpaths nearby. Haltwhistle lies immediately south of Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, within easy reach of its most dramatic features such as Housesteads Fort, Vindolanda and Cawfields Quarry, but also immediately north of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Haltwhistle is therefore the perfect location for a walking festival, where visitors and locals alike can spend a whole week walking, enjoying a different experience, and completely different views, every day.
Triggered by the need to counter the negative legacy of 'Foot and Mouth' local enthusiasts developed the 'Haltwhistle Rings' - a series of circular walks from the town. The success of the Rings in promoting walking in our wonderful countryside inspired the development of the Haltwhistle Walking Festival. It has gone from strength to strength, gathering together loyal walkers from all over the world, as well as from the immediate vicinity. In the seventeen years we have been running, we have held 34 Festivals. In that time, we have managed to build a team of experienced volunteers to lead each and every Festival walk. Every walk has at least three of these volunteers to guide and assist. All are trained in First Aid and navigation skills, and each one brings a different set of skills, expertise and local knowledge to make every adventure “more than just a walk”.
The Walking Festival is run by the Haltwhistle Walking Festival Company, which is also registered as a charity. We have a team of directors who each take different roles in ensuring the smooth operation of the company, and the success of every Festival. You can find out more about our committee members here.
Every Festival includes over 20 walks, and we try to make sure the programme offers walkers a variety – a variety of walk destinations, a variety of grades, and a variety of specialist walks. We now operate only one Festival a year, in the Spring, and details of our next Festival are always published here as soon they are ready. We try to work closely with local businesses to ensure the Festival is of benefit to the whole community, using local businesses for transport and catering. We now also try to make sure that on every day of the Festival, walkers can take part in a walk without having to use a car. Haltwhistle itself is easily accessible by public transport, and offers a variety of accommodation, meaning walkers can come here without cars and enjoy a week of walking.
Our Festival Socials which are usually held on the last Saturday of the Festival are legendary and are not to be missed. We will look forward to welcoming you and to sharing a tale or two with friends both old and new.