Leave only actual, not carbon, footprints this April when you join Hampshire’s new Rail to Trail Walking Festival.

Ramblers, strollers, families and friends of all abilities are invited to choose from more than 20 walks that all start and end at a South Western Railway (SWR) station. 

The walks are all led by experts keen to showcase their local area, co-ordinated by Malinka Van Der Gaauw from Petersfield who has left no stone unturned and will be the guide on several walks.

Malinka, who has written many walking columns for the Herald and Post, said: “I’ve been delighted to have been part of the team that has put the new Rail to Trail Walking Festival together. 

“It’s an ambitious project spanning a wide geographic area, but all linked by SWR and providing walkers with a great choice of sustainable walks. “

Funded by SWR and organised by the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and New Forest Community Rail Partnerships, the Rail to Trail Walking Festival will take place from April 6 to 14.  

The dates have been chosen to coincide with the Easter break hoping that families will enjoy these free walks and take their Easter eggs to snack on. They may even see the odd bunny along the way as well as the many varieties of spring flowers we can enjoy at this time of year. 

The festival will sustainably connect Hampshire’s railway network to led walks around the beautiful, surrounding countryside.

Explore Hampshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight, finding hidden gems as well as reacquainting yourselves with familiar places.

There is no cost to join a walk but booking is essential as there are limited places available. See https://hillstoharbourcrp.co.uk/rail-to-trail/

Community Rail Line officer Lucy Lomax said: “The festival will help demonstrate how easy it is to enjoy a good walk while leaving the car at home.  I am amazing the variety of landscapes and places there are to visit and never tire of exploring this stunning area with or without my dog!”