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Free guided walks open the way to National Parks Week 2005

This is an archived press release

Monday 27 June 2005

27 June 2005

Free guided walks open the way to National Parks Week 2005

Free guided walks throughout the Peak District will encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to see the countryside during National Parks Week, July 22-29.

They have been organised to be as accessible as possible - including walks for deaf & hearing impaired people, families with pushchairs, wheelchair users and vision impaired people - ensuring people of all ages and levels of ability can experience the variety of landscape, wildlife and heritage this special area has to offer.

The Peak District National Park Authority has joined forces with local organisations including Friends of the Peak District and Arts in the Peak to organise a range of National Parks Week events. In addition to free guided walks there will be a National Park open day at Losehill Hall on July 26 and a Family Environmental Art and Picnic on July 25 near Middleton-by-Youlgreave. For full details of events visit www.peakdistrict.org/nationalparksweek or phone 01629 816200.

All the walks during National Parks Week are led by experts in their field - and bookings are essential, on 01629 816290. So make a date in your diary, and book now:

Saturday, July 23, 11am-3pm: a signed walk aimed primarily at deaf and hearing-impaired people, covering a five-mile circuit of the countryside around Bakewell, looking at local history, wildlife, conservation and biodiversity. Led by a National Park ranger qualified to Level 2 in British Sign Language. The walk starts at the Bakewell Agricultural Business Centre (OS map SK 224 684).

Monday, July 25, two short walks, 3pm and 6.30pm: a chance to explore the wildlife-rich banks of the River Derwent, near Calver - and help with some conservation work. These 1.5-mile walks include a look at marshes, woods, ponds and grasses where harvest mice, water voles, brook lamprey, bats and newts find their homes. Walkers will find out what the National Park Authority and its partners are doing to conserve them, and help by pulling out non-native Himalayan balsam (gloves provided). The walks start at the Bridge Inn, Curbar.

Tuesday, July 26, one short, one longer walk, 2pm-4pm & 2pm-5pm: the short walk is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, following a two-mile circuit of Castleton, covering the fascinating history of the village and its famous Blue John mines. The longer walk (six miles) covers steeper ground up the hillside to the great ridge above Castleton, for some splendid views of the valley. The walks start at Losehill Hall, Castleton, on the A6187, during the Family Fun Day.

Wednesday, July 27, 10am-noon: a chance to explore Stanage Edge, one of the renowned climbing sites in the world, with its rich diversity of wildlife and dramatic panoramas of the Peak District. Walkers will find out how this valued area is managed in co-operation with climbers, walkers, countryside sports and wildlife enthusiasts, all working together to conserve the precious landscape. The walk starts at Hooks Car car park (OS map ref SK 244 830).

Thursday, July 28, 10am-4pm: a 7.5-mile flat walk primarily for wheelchair users and carers, through the old Railway Tunnels of the Monsal Trail. This is a former railway line now used by walkers, cyclists and riders, but the tunnels are normally closed to the public. This is a chance to hear how the tunnels were constructed in Victorian times and experience the atmosphere in the heart of darkness. Transport (linked with public transport at a small charge) is provided to and from the start/finish at the old Bakewell station, Castle Hill.

Thursday, July 28, 10.30am-4.30pm: a six-mile walk exploring the Peak District's lead mining heritage around Mam Tor - the "Shivering Mountain" at the head of the Hope Valley. The industry has died out, but the Peak District used to be one of the most important sources of lead in the world. This is dramatic scenery, with steep slopes and uneven land.
The walk starts at Mam Nick car park off the A625 (OS Map SK 123 832).

Friday, July 29, 1pm-4pm: a three-mile, easy-going walk through the magnificent deer park of the Chatsworth estate. The National Park's resident tree expert will talk about some of the centuries-old trees in the park. The walk starts at Calton Lees car park, near Chatsworth garden centre.

Friday, July 29, 10am-1pm: a circular walk around the Macclesfield Forest with an expert ranger, talking about the history, wildlife and ecology of this diverse corner of the National Park. Mainly on gravel paths, there are some steep slopes, but gate stiles are accessible to pushchairs and wheelchairs. The walk starts at Trentabank ranger station (OS Map SJ 961 711).

Walkers should bring weatherproof clothing, sturdy footwear, drinks and, where necessary, a packed lunch.

National Parks Week 2005 is co-ordinated across the UK by the Association of National Park Authorities to widen the appeal of the country's 14 National Parks. For more information nationally, go to www.anpa.gov.uk

This is an archived press release

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