Record numbers of walkers showed up to participate in 2022’s Ross Walking Festival.

Over 300 tickets were sold, a 50 per cent increase on the average over the past decade.

Organisers thanked walk leaders and were also grateful for delightful weather.

Ross welcomed walkers with its shops, cafes and the Riverside Equinox Festival, to an incredibly positive reception.

Ross Walkers are Welcome—the group which organises the Festival each year—thanked everyone who was involved, for their commitment and enthusiasm throughout.

The Festival was bigger and better, featuring a much larger number of walks, with a huge diversity of special interests, and generally smaller groups, which was thought to be more fun for both walkers and leaders.

The most popular single walk was a seven-mile circular route along the edge of the River Wye with a great climb up to the viewpoint and on to the Caplor Iron-age Hillfort; and the Hidden History of Ross, which ran on two separate days had the most overall walkers, with people engrossed in the storytelling around the town.

The old favourites like the steam train to Lydney and the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail continued to attract good numbers, as did new ideas, such as the photography walk put on in conjunction with Ross Photographic Society.

Overall, organisers calculated over 1,600 miles were walked over the three days, taking in some of the most glorious parts of the local countryside.

Putting on a festival requires a high level of input, with individual walk leaders proposing their favourite routes, testing them out, checking safety and access details, and writing descriptions.

These are then all co-ordinated, with flyers designed, marketing carried out, first aid training laid on, bookings monitored, and queries answered. It is a real team effort and a credit to the people of Ross.

Analysis after the event shows that of those who replied – mostly walkers­ – about 35 per cent were from further afield, so potentially staying visitors to the area and bringing in good income to the town as a whole; 15 per cent were Ross residents, and 50 per cent were semi-local and thought to have been day-visitors.

The furthest afield came from as far away as London, Kent, Derbyshire, and even Scotland.

The planning for the 2023 festival is about to start, with the date has been fixed for September 22-24, and ideas are starting to develop.

The festival is just one part of what the group do to promote and facilitate walking around Ross.

The group now have a new chairperson, bringing new ideas and impetus to the festival.