A packed programme of free guided walks at Eastbourne’s first ever Walking Weekend are now available to be booked online.

The new weekend festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday 4 – 5 May, kicking off National Walking Month, which promotes the benefits of walking for physical health, mental wellbeing, and enjoying the fresh air outdoors.

This new Spring event will enable walkers to experience the wonders of the South Downs, wandering through Sussex villages, while learning about the land beneath our feet.  The walks are designed to appeal to regular ramblers and are graded either moderate or challenging.  All walks are led by experienced guides and are completely free.

Highlights include an 8.5-mile trek taking in a Cold War Radar Station and Herstmonceux Castle, a level hike from Hellingly Church to Chiddingly Church and a circular walk with spectacular views from Mount Caburn and passing Glyndebourne Opera House.

There is also a Performance Path walk starting at Holywell Tea Chalet meandering through the Italian Gardens and Meads, the town centre and seafront – all the way to the Martello Tower at Langney Point. Along the way, local dance artist Yanaëlle Thiran will perform short pieces of choreography and talk about how Eastbourne and its landmarks inspire her dance practice.

The Walking Weekend is designed to attract new and active visitors to the town looking to spend some time away, trying out new walking routes, as well as those looking for a more sustainable green holiday.

The weekend event also acts as a springboard for the Walking Festival in September when Eastbourne hosts a nine-day celebration of the great outdoors with free guide-led walks around the town, the surrounding areas and the South Downs.

Eastbourne’s Walking Champion Gill Mattock is one of the walk guides and said, “There is a great selection of walks to be enjoyed at this event – which is a first for Eastbourne. We are lucky to have so many fabulous walks in the surrounding area led by our experienced walk leaders and I hope people will sign up and enjoy getting out in the great outdoors.

“We all know how walking is great for our wellbeing and this weekend will give people a chance of discovering things off the beaten track as well as some firm favourites.”

All walks are free but must be booked online in advance.  For more information and to book visit www.eastbournewalkingfestival.com or sign up or follow Facebook, X and Instagram for walks news