April and May will be busy months in Alton and surrounding areas if you are looking for great walking! Quite apart from all the opportunities regularly provided by Alton`s wide range of local walking groups, you need to look out especially for these events:

The Rail to Trail Walking Festival (April 8 to 14). This is a new event, organised by Hampshire Community Rail, and will feature walks from stations across the county, including stations on the Portsmouth Line and in the New Forest, as well as stations on our local Community Rail Partnership, the Wey Valley CRP. 

A number of circular walks from Alton and Bentley stations willl include an eight-mile circuit north from Bentley station via Bentley village, Pax Hill and Coldrey, returning via Isington, and a southern circuit of similar length via Broadview, Home Hanger, Wheatley, South Hay, Forty Acres and Binsted village. 

Booking for these walks will be open in March….watch this space!

A Spring Walk on Saturday, April 27 will take participants out to Home Farm near Burkham via Thedden and Bentworth and everyone will be able to enjoy their picnic lunches together.

After a welcome lunch stop, the return route will be via Lasham Hill, Lasham and Shalden. Overall, an interesting and scenically varied walk of about 15 miles, which ought to offer a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones!

To reserve a place on this walk, please contact Ian on 07766 174275

Moving into May, we can all enjoy the premier walking event of Southern England, the Alton Walking Festival, which will be in its 12th successful year, lasting for the whole of the month and offering over 100 varied walks (with lengths from 1.5 to 26 miles) over the 31 days!

When the programme is published, look out especially for the ‘Spider Walks’, which are walks back to Alton from all surrounding towns (walkers will use public transport to reach the walk starts). There will also be an exciting range of themed walks on a wide variety of topics, including wellbeing/mental health, natural history, old railways, navigation by map and compass and local geology.

You are welcome to pre-register now for the Walking Festival - to do so, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/AltonWalkingFestival 

Bookings will go live on April 1.

And finally, in June, there will be a great opportunity to walk the whole of the Hangers Way (21 miles) without any transport worries, thanks to the initiatives of our walking friends in Petersfield. Subsidised transport will be provided to take Alton walkers to Queen Elizabeth Country Park, where they will  join Petersfield walkers for a Linking Communities Walk on Saturday, June 15 back along the full length of the Hangers Way to Alton. Poor public transport services usually make it very difficult to organise a walk from QECP to Alton, so this will be a day to savour!

Booking details will be announced nearer the date of the walk