Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Walking Festival will continue

Walking on isle of Wight
Image caption The Isle of Wight Walking Festival has been held every year since 1999

A popular walking festival which was cancelled amid council cuts will continue, new organisers have said.

Tourist business consortium Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) has agreed to run the two-week Isle of Wight Walking Festival after the island's council scrapped its events team earlier this year.

The rebranded IsleWalk17 will take place from 29 April to 14 May.

Visit Isle of Wight said its evaluation showed the festival brings more than £250,000 into the island's economy.

The festival was first staged in 1999 and the 2016 event featured 250 themed walks at various venues on the island.

It was due to be discontinued after Isle of Wight Council said it could no longer be resourced due to "difficult financial challenges" faced by the local authority.

VIOW chief executive David Thornton said it was an event he "wouldn't want to lose".

He said: "Not only does it bring several thousand people over to the island, it also communicates to the rest of the UK and beyond that the Isle of Wight is a great place to come walking."

He added VIOW would spend £10,000 on the event.

As well as the spring event, a New Year walking-themed weekend called "Fresh Start" is being staged in January.

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