An­nual Shanks’ pony ride mounts up again

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS In­for­ma­tion and book­ings are avail­able on­line at mwf.org.nz and through iSite in The Square.

Lace on your walk­ing shoes and get ready to leg it. The third an­nual Manawatu Walk­ing Fes­ti­val steps out this week­end with in­creased num­bers want­ing to en­joy a num­ber of lo­cal walks and ex­cur­sions.

‘‘We are ex­cited about this year’s fes­ti­val. With the new walks and book­ings cur­rently track­ing well above pre­vi­ous years, it looks like it’s go­ing to our best one ever,’’ says event or­gan­iser Frank Gold­ing­ham of Walk­ing New Zealand mag­a­zine.

The fes­ti­val of­fers much more than just a foot slog along Manawatu’s scenic tracks. Hosts pro­vide his­tor­i­cal, so­cial and bi­o­log­i­cal com­men­tary en route.

Two new walks have been added this time – the six kilo­me­tre Ara­puke Loop Walk is co­hosted by Ian Ar­gyle, a for­mer res­i­dent and lo­cal his­to­rian.

‘‘Ian knows the area like the back of his hand,’’ Frank ac­knowl­edges.

The other is the Manawatu Es­tu­ary Walk, with mem­bers of the Es­tu­ary Trust pro­vid­ing com­men­tary about the Ramsar Site, and the birds it pro­vides a haven for.

‘‘There has been great feed­back from walk­ers on their past fes­ti­val ex­pe­ri­ences, and many are re­turn­ing for their third year. We’re very thank­ful for the large group of pas­sion­ate vol­un­teers who host th­ese walk and re­ally make this event some­thing spe­cial for all those par­tic­i­pat­ing.’’

Walk­ers have to reg­is­ter, with costs de­pend­ing on trans­port hire to the venue. Al­ready the Manawatu Gorge Tawa Loop walk on Satur­day is fully sub­scribed.

Open­ing on Fri­day evening with the pop­u­lar Twi­light Beach Walk from Fox­ton to Hi­matangi Beach, par­tic­i­pants fin­ish up with a fish and chip meal.

‘‘An­other pop­u­lar one is the Vine­yard and Farm Walk and Herb Farm tour.

‘‘Walk­ers tour Manawatu’s award-win­ning Po­hang­ina Es­tate Vine­yard and en­joy a sit­down gourmet lunch on hay bales.’’

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Mak­ing the most of the great out­doors and our scenic glo­ries, the third an­nual Manawatu Walk­ing Fes­ti­val steps out this week­end.

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