Oldham Council is inviting you to step out into the great outdoors and discover walks in your local area as part of the annual Greater Manchester Walking Festival.
Back bigger and better for the fifth year, it runs from Wednesday 1 to Friday 31 May 2019, and offers 400 free guided walks exploring towns, cities, the countryside, canals, riversides and parks across Greater Manchester.
No matter whether you’re a stroller, roamer, shuffler, moocher or a marcher the festival has something for everyone.
The aim of the events is to encourage residents to rediscover their local area, reconnect with their friends and neighbours, and to get out and about more.
The highlight of this year’s highly anticipated festival is the three themed walks honouring inspiring women of Rochdale, Manchester and Oldham.
The first walk takes place on 5 May in Rochdale, starting from the Dame Gracie Fields statue on The Esplanade. On the 9 May there is a walk in Manchester City Centre from the Emmeline Pankhurst statue at St. Peter’s Square, and 19 May from the Annie Kenney statue in Parliament Square, Oldham.
Annie Kenney was a key figure in the suffragette movement, and prior to that she lived and worked in Oldham, having been born in Springhead.
She was the only working class woman to hold a senior position in the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’ (WSPU), which spearheaded the campaign for universal suffrage under the banner ‘Votes for Women'.
A working-class woman from Oldham, Annie was first arrested in 1905 after heckling a Liberal politician on the issue of women’s suffrage.
After hearing Christabel Pankhurst speak about women’s rights at an Independent Labour Party meeting in 1905, Annie became involved in the campaign for women’s suffrage.
When the WSPU decided to open a branch in the East End of London, Annie began to work full time for the organisation.
The Inspiring Women of Oldham walk will explore the story of Annie in more depth and showcase Oldham as you’ve never seen it before. The event starts at 11.30 and tickets are free. To book yours visit: InspiringWomenOldham.eventbrite.co.uk
There are around 50 other walks to enjoy across Oldham including the vast Dovestone Reservoir, Greenfield, Alexandra Park, Oldham and Strinesdale, Waterhead.
For a full list of walks visit www.gmwalking.co.uk and download the brochure.
Louise Robbins, GM Moving Walking Programme Lead, said: “The 2019 Festival is building on the great work from over the last four years. The event is the perfect excuse to kickstart an active lifestyle and to get outdoors more with the kids or a group of friends. Our ambition is to make Greater Manchester the first ‘Walking Region’ in the UK. The Festival is a fantastic chance to showcase and publicise the great walking opportunities and groups there are in Greater Manchester and to encourage people to walk more and get reacquainted with their local area.”
Rebekah Sutcliffe, Strategic Director of Reform, said:
“The Greater Manchester Walking Festival is a great opportunity to get the whole family out into the great outdoors and discover the hidden gems in your local area.
“Oldham has ample green spaces and parks to explore and the festival is the perfect time to do just that.
“I’m delighted that the walks will encourage residents and visitors to find out more about Oldham’s countryside and rich history – especially the inspiring women who helped change history.
“It’s a great way of being active and it’s set to be a brilliant addition, not just to Oldham, but to the whole of Greater Manchester.
“We encourage everyone to download the brochure, pick a walk, take a friend or family and enjoy the great outdoors.”
The full list of walks can be found at www.gmwalking.co.uk Copies of the Festival brochure, which details all 400 walks, are available in TfGM Travelshops and other outlets across Greater Manchester, including libraries and community centres.
Join the conversation and share photos and your experiences of walking in Greater Manchester on social media, follow @GMWalkingFestival on Twitter and Instagram and check out of Facebook page GM Walking Festival.