Eastbourne Walking Festival gets underway in September and tickets are still available for a number of walks.

The 10 day long festival – from 16-25 September – encourages people to get out and about, be active and discover the joy of walking.

From tranquil coastal strolls in Eastbourne and the South Downs to the culture and history of the town, dog friendly walks and nature walks, there are walks to suit all abilities.

There are 52 walks ranging from easy to moderate, to challenging, taking place across Eastbourne, the Downs, and surrounding areas. All walks are free but some welcome donations.

Eastbourne Walking Champion Gill Mattock will lead three walks with one entitled ‘Lots of Bottoms’ starting at Friston Pond at 10.30am on 18 September.

Gill will lead walkers on one of her favourite walks taking in Friston Forest and Jevington on an eight mile hike.

For those who would prefer a gentle wander, there will be a guided talk and walk about the temporary sculpture in the grounds of St Mary’s Church, Hampden Park, with Walk Leader Fenya Sharkey. Visitors can explore the history of the church and parish, followed by coffee and cake. It is on 22 September at 10.30am finishing at noon.

Keen walker Richard Page will lead ‘Belle Tout in Our Eyeline’, a six mile hilly walk on 24 September. Walkers should meet at the Kiosk by Bede’s School at 10.30am before ascending gradually from Bede’s, but not via the steep route, to follow downland paths towards Belle Tout, with a few stiles, returning via Beachy Head to the starting point at around 1.45pm.

Other walks this year include ‘Eastbourne’s Coastal Downland’ (a hilly 10-mile circular walk on Eastbourne’s coastal downland taking in Birling Gap, Belle Tout and Beachy Head); the ‘Development of Victorian Eastbourne’ (a two-mile historical guided walk); an ‘In Stepp Walk’ looking at beautiful cliff walks over three of the Seven Sisters (from Friston Church over to Crowlink); and ‘Let’s go Fishing’ – a flat walk from Cophall Roundabout through fields and along the Cuckoo Trail and passing lakes.

Eastbourne Walking Champion Gill Mattock said, “Eastbourne Walking Festival is a wonderful 10-day celebration of the great outdoors right on our doorstep here in Eastbourne, on the South Downs and surrounding areas, and an opportunity to meet other walkers.

“There is an amazing variety of walks this year, I would encourage people to visit the website www.eastbournewalkingfestival.co.uk.

“Once you have found a walk that appeals, click through to get yourself a ticket. You will then receive an email confirming your space on this walk.”

Eastbourne Walking Festival returns from 16 – 25 September and walks are free.  Visit www.eastbournewalkingfestival.co.uk to book online.