Spring arrives, the days gradually lengthen and our thoughts turn to... Suffolk Walking Festival. Tickets go on sale this month for what has become a staple item in the county calendar – two weeks in May when you can don boots and rucksacks for a packed programme of guided walks that will take you to familiar favourite haunts and places you've probably never heard of.

It's a brilliant way to enjoy being in the great outdoors, getting to know a bit more about our wonderful county, its heritage, landscape, natural environment, and the flora and fauna we share it with.

For 2024 there are 56 walks over the fortnight from Saturday May 11 to Sunday May 26, ranging in length from very short – just 1.5 miles – to the longest at eight miles. Organiser David Falk, green access manager at Suffolk County Council, says they explore every corner of Suffolk; revisiting fascinating Orford Ness and learning about its secret past; sharing mindfulness moments in an ancient wood; relaxing river trips and gentle ambles.

Great British Life: Visit Orford Ness with Suffolk Walking Festival. Visit Orford Ness with Suffolk Walking Festival. (Image: Lucy Taylor)

New for 2024, the festival ventures into the vast Broads National Park. There's also an opportunity to try your hand at creative writing on a Haiku walk, and join Ambling African Women, a new walking group based in Ipswich, for a guided walk along the Sailors Path at Snape.

The launch is at Thornham Walks on May 11, when there will be four walks that include foraging, learning about rich history of the Thornham Estate, exploring a traditional cattle drive, and lovely ancient churches with Josephine Henniker Major, whose family have owned the estate for generations.

Some walks in the programme are free; others have a small charge and others a bit more, where there's a boat trip involved. There's something for every level of ability and experience, from families to solo strollers.


Great British Life: The launch is at Thornham Walks. The launch is at Thornham Walks.

30 great events in the  2024 Suffolk Walking Festival


Past, Present and Future of Thornham Estate

2 hours, 2 miles, £5

Frescos, Droves and Commons

3 hours, 5 miles, £5

Plant Power, Material, Medicines and Meals

2.5 hours, 3 miles, £5

MAY 12

Walk ‘n’ Water, Sudbury & Great Cornard Riverside

2 hours, 2 miles, £8

Walking Through The History Of Ipswich Waterfront

2 hours, 2 miles, £6

MAY 13

Bulmer, Bricks & Beyond

5 hours, 5 miles, £10

Estuary Birds, Otter Videos & A Stunning Human Eco-Home (near Southwold)

3 hours, 2.5 miles, £10

MAY 14

Hawkedon Circular Nordic Walk

2.5 hours, 5 miles, £10

The Story of the High Street (Hadleigh)

1.5 hours, 1.5 miles, £5

MAY 15

Sunrise and Dawn Chorus North Cove

2.5 hours, 3 miles, £5

Ancient Trails of Clare: Castle, Common, Church, and Priory

2.5 hours, 3 miles, £5

MAY 16

The Hidden History of West Stow Country Park

2 hours, 2 miles, free

Tales From The River: Fun and Work (Honington)

2 hours, 1.5 miles, free

MAY 17

Walk With A Sheepdog (Orford Ness)

3.5 hours, 3.5 miles, £25

Walking with Constable

5 hours, 5 miles, free

MAY 18

Turbulence to Tranquillity (Dunwich)

3 hours, 3 miles, £10

MAY 19

Haiku Ginko in Halesworth

2.5 hours, 4 miles, £12

MAY 20

Facets of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths

3 hours, 4 miles, £5

Walk with a Ranger (Orford Ness)

3.5 hours, 6 miles, £25

MAY 21

Walking Through The History Of England's Oldest Town

2 hours, 2 miles, £6

MAY 22

Boat and Boot along the Waveney

5 hours, 4 miles, £7.50

Deben and The Coast - Station-To-Station Walk

4 hours, 8 miles, free

MAY 23

Ambling Africans @Snape Maltings

1.5 hours, 3 miles, free

Spectacular Spring Wildlife at RSPB Minsmere

2.5 hours, 2 miles, £10

MAY 24

Mysteries, Murder and Miracles (Bildeston)

3 hours, 3 miles, £5

Walk ‘n’ Water, Sudbury & Great Henny Riverside

4hours, 3.5 miles, £18

MAY 25

The Magic and Wisdom of Trees – A Forest Bathing Experience

3 hours, 2 miles, £18

Hedgerow Forage and Wild Cream Tea (Thornham Magna)

3 hours, 2 miles, £20

MAY 26

Clare and Cavendish Circular Walk

3 hours, 7 miles, £4

The Long Long Story Of Melford A Village On The Green

2 hours, 1.5 miles, free