In the UK, we love to walk. Thousands of us go walking regularly. And lots of us like our walks to be sociable – for evidence, just look at how popular walking festivals have become. Ten years ago, there were hardly any. Now there are dozens. It doesn’t matter what your age or ability – most festivals have graded walks to suit everyone, with a walk leader on hand to make sure you’re OK.

There’ll often be added extras – evening entertainment, visits, food and drink tastings etc. Stay in a holiday cottage while you’re at a festival. After a day of exercise and fresh air, relax in your own space. Cottage owners can usually recommend food delivery services, and many cottages have a pub or restaurant nearby.

Here are just a few festivals around the UK this year:

3 – 18 May Isle of Wight Walking Festival, England
In its tenth year, this is probably the longest-established festival. More than half the island is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – including 500 miles of well-maintained footpaths. The event is a huge draw every year.
www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk

9 – 11 May Lower Annandale Walking Festival, Scotland
Twelve guided walks in this intriguing part of Dumfries and Galloway.

9 – 15 May Newton Stewart Walking Festival, Scotland
One of the foremost walking festivals in the south of Scotland.
www.newtonstewartwalkfest.co.uk

10 – 17 May Aviemore & Cairngorm Walking & Mountain Festival, Scotland.
Formerly Aviemore Walking Festival, it includes new elements for 2008. www.aviemorewalking.com

17 – 23 May Ballater Royal Deeside Walking Festival, Scotland
Three walks a day of varying toughness in eastern Cairngorms National Park, Aberdeenshire and Angus.
www.royaldeeside.co.uk

29 May – 1 June Angus Glens Walking Festival, Scotland
Award-winning walking festival – discover one of Scotland’s secret places, the Angus Glens.
www.angusanddundee.co.uk/walkingfestival

6 – 9 June Malvern Walking Festival, England
From family ambles to a ramble across the Malvern Hills from end to end. www.malvern-hills.co.uk

14 June, midnight Edinburgh MoonWalk, Scotland
Join the MoonWalk to help raise money for vital breast cancer causes in Scotland. www.walkthewalk.org

14 – 15 June Langport International Walking Festival, England
At the heart of the Somerset levels and moors – a wetland landscape of rhines, droves and willows. www.langport-area.info

14 – 22 June Herefordshire Walking Festival, England
This year’s programme highlights the south west of the county with 60 guided walks to choose from. Experts on butterflies, bats and birdwatching, archaeology, local lore, and land conservation will be on hand. And learn to compose better pictures with travel photographer Nick Meers.
www.visitherefordshire.co.uk/walking

30 June – 13 July Rotherham Walking Festival
Two weeks of guided walks. www.rotherham.gov.uk

15 – 18 Aug Midlothian Walking Festival, Scotland
Cycling and horse riding as well as guided walks through town and countryside within easy reach of Edinburgh.s well as guided walks through town and countryside within easy reach of Edinburgh.

walking.visitscotland.com/events/midlothian-walking-festival

30 Aug – 6 Sep Scottish Borders Festival of Walking
One of the longest-established walking festivals in Scotland.

18 – 22 Sep Clackmannanshire Walking Festival, Scotland
A chance to discover the area’s stunning scenery.

26 – 28 Sep Coniston Walking Festival, Lake District, England
Themed walks on the area’s geology and geography, and the famous people who have found inspiration here – plus activities for families and the ultra-energetic.

26 – 29 Sep Carrick Way Festival, Scotland
Walks in stunning landscapes in Ayrshire.

26 Sep – 5 Oct Richmond Walking and Book Festival, Yorkshire, England
Ten days of events that are good for body, intellect and soul!

4 – 13 Oct Cowal Walking and Arts Festival (Cowalfest), Scotland
Where the Highlands meet the Clyde coast.