Walking festival on in April

Walking festival organising committee members Liz McMillan (left) and Sonia McAlpine take a walk into the evolving enchanted forest . Below: the sign for the Piwakawaka walk.

Organisers are striding ahead with a programme of events for the Methven & Foothills Walking Festival.

The festival will run from April 16-24 and confirmed attractions include a scarecrow trail, enchanted forest walk, easter egg hunt and wellness walk.

There will also be a food and wine tour, historic walk, dog walk and options to enjoy hikes along the Mt Somers Walkway and Scotts Saddle Track.

Other attractions are still being worked on and will be confirmed over the coming weeks, organising committee chairperson Liz McMillan says.

Planning for the festival had started last year and with the dates now locked in it was full steam ahead with getting the word out.

A similar festival had been in held in the Methven area around 20 years ago and from it had sprung the very popular Methven Scarecrow Trail which continued today.

The festival was aimed at people of all ages and would showcase the area to visitors and locals alike, Ms McMillan said.

It had received some regional tourism funding, but sponsors were welcome to get in touch via the Facebook page and any donations given would support the worthy community event.

One of the family-friendly attractions at the festival is an enchanted forest walk.

The walk is already signed and follows a one kilometre section of the Methven Walkway near the Opuke Thermal Pools & Spa.

When complete it will feature dozens of fairy doors, wooden mushrooms, dinosaur eggs, a fairy tea party, elves, bunting, painted stones and fairy rhymes.

The enchanted forest is the brainchild of organising committee member Sonia McAlpine.

Mrs McAlpine said her husband had made 97 fairy doors and she had painted each of them.

“I’m loving it. It’s a lot of fun and I’m sure people will enjoy walking the enchanted forest.”

She said surprises were hidden around every corner and tucked among the trees.

“It will be one of those walks where you will see things on the way out and different things on the way back.”

The enchanted forest will be showcased on April 23 and all its features will remain in place after the festival has finished.

Another nearby woody section of the Methven Walkway running parallel with Holmes Road is called Piwakawaka and features wooden fantails painted by volunteers, including the local brownies.

There will be festival updates and a full programme on the methvenwalkingfestival.nz website and Facebook and Instagram pages over the next few weeks.

-By Mick Jensen