THANKS to the picturesque countryside and historical landmarks of Tynedale, the district is frequented by walkers and nature lovers from across the globe, all year round.

Although the summer months may seem to be the perfect time for a walk in the vast rolling countryside, ramblers continue to tackle the Tynedale terrain all year round.

This passion for walking is what motivated the people behind the Haltwhistle Walking Festival to invite walkers far and wide to the region.

Despite its name, the Haltwhistle Walking Festival is not just limited to the Haltwhistle area.

The festival, which runs for nine days, ending next Sunday, offers a range of walks in different parts of the district, with all walks led by experienced guides and back-ups.

Walks include Follies and Feathers: Hallbankgate to Haltwhistle, Langley: Castles and Lead Mines, Walking in the Windmills – a walk around Bellingham in the company of a local author, who will talk about how to draw inspiration for writing from our stunning countryside, and a Fungal Foray billed as the perfect opportunity to gather some ingredients for a mushroom risotto.

Open to walkers new and old, a rage of difficulties have been set.

These include easy routes with no steep ascents or descents and few stiles, taken at a leisurely pace; moderate – walks for people with rural walking experience and a good level of fitness; moderate plus – longer and the route will be over rougher ground; and finally, strenuous routes for experienced walkers with a high level of fitness.

Anne Palmer first took part in the walking festival five years ago and is now a member of the committee.

“I was immediately taken up with how friendly and interesting everyone was,” she said.

Anne is one of many hard working volunteers who work behind the scenes, creating new routes and implementing different themes with a nod to everything from literature to nature.

She said: “The work that goes on behind the scenes never stops. As soon as one festival finishes, then the next is in in preparation.

“Behind the festival there’s a walking group that meets every week and all of the ideas come from that. We have a huge variety of routes to choose from and we are always looking for new places to walk.”

This Saturday will mark the group’s 34th walking festival, and although the festival is predominantly populated by people from the North-East, walkers from as far away as Chicago and North Wales continue to return each year.

“We have two or three walks everyday so there’s lots of variety for anyone who wants to take part. Overall, we’re expecting to see around 100 people join in across the nine days.”

Anne added: “The variety of difficulties that we offer means that if we want to walk along a field or by a river there’s plenty to choose from.”

Further information can be found on the festival’s website at https://www.haltwhistlewalkingfestival.org or telephone 07565 967852.