BERWICK is poised to stage a three-day walking festival next year that is hoped will emulate the popularity of the Border Marches.
Jon Monks of Rothbury-based Shepherds Walks has offered to organise the inaugural festival to be held at Easter 2014.
Berwick Town Council’s events committee agreed at its meeting last week to meet the predicted first year costs of £2,200.
Coun Ivor Dixon said: “Just over £2,000 is nothing compared with the benefits it could bring.
“I’m sure lots of local people would be interested in taking part, never mind the visitors it could attract.”
Coun Jim Smith added: “It sounds like a great opportunity to promote Berwick in the early part of the season.”
The provisional programme includes walks from Holy Island to Berwick, walks up the Tweed and from Berwick to St Abbs.
Shorter walks around the Elizabethan Walls and following the Lowry Trail are also planned.
The concept of a walking festival came as a result of discussions between town clerk Sue Finch, AONB officer Iain Robson and Louise Dixon from the TIC.
Miss Finch explained: “A walking festival provides a great opportunity to promote Berwick as a key hub for car-free breaks.
“There aren’t many towns that have the unique accessibility by train that Berwick does. Visitors could arrive in the centre of town, maybe even coming up from London for long weekends, and quite easily access a fantastic range of walks.”
The aim is to offer a programme of activities in the spring, complementing the food and film festivals taking place in the autumn.
“Berwick is already pretty busy in the summer months but increasing the number of visitors in the shoulder season would be a big boost to the town’s economy and accommodation providers,” said Miss Finch. “I’m told Berwick has more five star than four star places so we have got a good platform on which to base this on.”
Shepherds Walks already organise the successful Rothbury Walking Festival.
“He has put together a costed proposal and expects that the event would be self-sustaining by its fourth year,” said Miss Finch.
Although it is planned to hold the first event over Easter, the date is flexible.
Mayor John Robertson was among those who felt that when Easter falls early it might be better to stage the event over the May half term when the weather is likely to be better.
Hundreds of walkers used to turn out for the Border Marches, which offered a range of long-distance walks through the Tweed valley. The event, which was organised by Berwick Borough Council, was last held in 2008.
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North