Over recent months we’ve been listening to your views on the long-running Festival of Winter Walks - and we want to say a huge thank you to the festivals volunteer advisory group who have helped look at the options.
We have heard that many volunteers find the festival challenging, taking place at a busy time of year, when the weather discourages many walkers from venturing out. This means the festival generally doesn’t return many new members, which we know is an important outcome for many of you.
However, the Festival is very popular with the media and we receive a lot of national and local press coverage. This is thanks to the many and varied walks that volunteers deliver during the holiday season, and the excellent work of local publicity officers to promote the walks during a quiet news period and a time when media are looking for seasonal stories. Last year’s festival generated 173 pieces of coverage, reaching nearly 5 million people in total circulation.
We have therefore decided to continue to run the festival as a PR campaign, with the explicit aim of gaining press and PR for the Ramblers. This year, we will build on the conversation currently taking place across the nation and in the media around loneliness. The holiday season can be a difficult time for people who spend Christmas alone – and we think walking with the Ramblers could be a solution to one of the nation’s most pressing problems.
We are therefore not asking walk leaders and groups to host any extra or special walks, or to put on events during this time. As in previous years, all walks planned during the festival period and added to GWEM will be badged up as festival walks, and the media team will use the details of these walks to promote the festival.
The Festival of Winter Walks 2018-2019 will take place from Friday 21 December 2018 to Sunday 6 January 2019. We are sorry for the late notice of these dates. I know it will have missed some walk programmes.
Moving forwards, we are keen to continue to develop the Festival of Winter Walks as an annual media event. We understand that in previous years (and this one) volunteers have not been given enough time to get involved. To help you with your forward planning, I would therefore like to confirm the dates for next year’s Festival of Winter Walks, which will run from Friday 20 December 2019 to Sunday 5 January 2020.
Once again, we thank you for your input and efforts which go in to making every festival special – and we look forward to, together, continuing to get the nation on its feet at a beautiful (if cold) time of the year.
With kind regards,
Head of engagement