Alton Town Council is extremely proud of how Alton’s Walking Festivals have developed over the past ten years, from the introduction and success of the October autumn festival – held for the third time this year – to offering more than 100 walks in May.

Both festivals combined offered walks totalling around 850 miles in length and attracted around 2,000 people.

With the festivals being promoted further afield, Alton is attracting visitors from out of the area who are staying locally and enjoying not just walking in the area but visiting other local amenities as well.

Every year officers work closely with local walking groups and enthusiasts to develop a programme of walks everyone can enjoy, offering something new and building on from previous years.

This year they introduced more themed walks such as brewery, foraging, lost railways and evening bat walks. All the walks were free and were booked up very quickly, with long waiting lists.

Next year the council hopes to attract more visitors to the town as well as keeping its regular supporters with another year of exciting walks – new and old – and experiences.

It is already working on providing more themed walks, which will include family-friendly weekend walks, later evening walks for those who cannot get out during the day, and dog walks.

Alton town mayor Cllr Ginny Boxall said: “I am delighted our walking festivals have been a huge success this year, with walks for all ages and abilities in the fabulous surroundings of Hampshire’s countryside.

“Alton is fast gaining a reputation for the quality of walks and fantastic location. I am looking forward to seeing them continue and develop.”

One of this year’s walkers said: “Everyone does a fantastic job. Well done.”