NEWTOWN’S first Walking Festival was a grand success.

On a mostly sunny weekend at the beginning of June 200 people went for a walk.

Newtown’s new Mayor, David Selby, opened the event and later joined one of the groups for a walk.

He said: "I was delighted to have my first engagement of my year as town mayor at the new Walking Festival. It was wonderful to see people from the town and from outside the town joining the festival and discovering and enjoying the great walks we have here.

"Well done to all those involved in the organisation, the walk leaders, and all those who took part.

"I hope this festival becomes an annual Newtown event. I enjoyed one of the walks up to Fachwen Pool.

"The company was fun, the views very special and despite the hills we came back refreshed and rejoicing in the area that we are lucky enough to live in."

Newtown’s beautiful countryside was alive with happy people enjoying the views, the company, and the exercise.

Local experts guided walks in the countryside and talked about Newtown’s rich heritage and wildlife.

Members of a local choir led a group on a singing walk and picnic.

Helen Menhinick of Bryn Walking, led two all day challenge walks to Kerry Ridgeway and Bwlch-y-ffridd. Walks were varied to cater to all abilities and interests, with short, long, family and themed walks.

The event was organised by Walking Newtown, a group of local volunteers who have spent the last seven years opening up walking routes around town.

Over thousands of work hours, in partnership with Powys County Council, they have installed 61 gates, erected bridges and steps, opening up 20 walking trails, all starting from the town. Their work continues.

Event organiser and secretary of Walking Newtown, Paula Scott, was pleased by the turnout.

“This is fantastic for a first-time event. We have met people who told us they’ve lived in Newtown for years but didn’t know these walks.

"Everyone told us what a good time they had and that it has encouraged them to walk more.”

She said that many people asked for more walking festivals and they hoped it would be an annual event.

Newtown’s chair, Mike Davies, who also helped with organisation, thanked all the walk leaders and sponsors of the event.

He said: “Patricia Jones from West Brom was a great help in registering participants on both days and generally manning the office.”

The event was also supported with grants by Tesco, West Brom, Skipton Building Society, The Canal & River Trust, Grassroots Giving and Sport Wales.

Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council allowed the use of the Robert Owen Museum as a hub for the walks.

Newtown Walkers Save Livestock

DURING the Newtown Walking Festival a group of walkers spotted a calf in distress upside down in a ditch.

It had managed to wrap barbed wire around its hind hoof and was securely trapped.

The group suspended their walk to alert the farmer to free the animal, which was returned to its mother.

Farmer Jeff Hopkins, of Bank Farm, said the calf is a bit tender but should be fine.

“It could have been much worse if it hadn’t been found quickly. I’m very appreciative of Andrew Gentle and the walkers for their help.”

Paula Scott, secretary of Walking Newtown, said: “These kind acts help to cement good relations between walkers and farmers. We all love the countryside and are all on the same side.”