Actor and adventurer Brian Blessed is backing a pioneering family-friendly walk this summer to help care for the Peak District National Park’s traffic-free trails.
‘Walk in the Park’ is the first major fundraising campaign in the UK’s first National Park. It aims to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors and raise money to look after the trails at a time of reduced Government funding.
The event will take place on Saturday, August 20 along the Monsal Trail. Exclusive to pre-registered fundraisers, part of the fee will include two nights’ camping at the Bakewell Showground if required, or a smaller fee without camping. The cost will also cover a range of activities, including fly fishing, guided ranger activities, storytelling, a circus and circus skills school.
There are three different walk lengths to choose from and anyone can take part with family or friends, with the dog or on their own. No special training or equipment is needed. It’s all about having fun and raising funds for the trails through sponsorship.
All funds raised will be used to help meet the cost of maintaining the Peak District National Park’s 34 miles of traffic-free trails, including the Monsal, Tissington, High Peak and Thornhill trails, which are used by hundreds of walkers, cyclists and horse riders every day. The maintenance costs £5 per metre per year, not including the viaducts, bridges, tunnels and other manmade structures along the routes.
Flash Gordon star Blessed, who has made three attempts to climb Mount Everest and is the oldest man to reach the magnetic North Pole on foot, spent large parts of his childhood in the Peak District and retains a deep affection for the area.
He said: “I grew up discovering Mam Tor, Back Tor and Kinder Scout. I explored the whole Hope Valley – these hills and moors were my jungle! We have to remember that National Parks are not ours – they are ours to look after. We all have a responsibility to care for Britain’s Breathing Spaces. I think ‘Walk in the Park’ is a wonderful initiative and I for one will do whatever I can to support it.”
Further support comes from national retailer Go Outdoors, who will email more than 1 million customers, display posters and leaflets in 57 stores across the country and create a special discount for registered fundraisers.
Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible for ‘Walk in the Park’. We are planning plenty of exciting activities so it’s going to be a great, fun-filled weekend and we want to make it an annual event.
“The idea is to help people get closer to nature and raise some money at the same time for the trails that everyone loves. It will be a good opportunity for local businesses too as it will bring people to the area – we hope they will get involved in any way they can.”
People who sign up to support the event can choose to walk 5, 8 or 16 miles and tickets and further information are available at Walk in the Park
Family fundraising tickets include parking, two nights’ camping for up to 4 people and lots of activities cost £60, with similar camping tickets for individuals priced at £30. For those not camping, fundraising tickets are £30 for families and £15 for individuals, including parking.
Walkers will also be asked to raise a suggested minimum of £40 per person In sponsorship.