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News release - Issued by York Bike Belles

Join a week of walking and cycling discovery this half-term!

Walk with monks into a labyrinth, be scared during a Spoooky Cycle Tour of York, socialise on a ride with friendly cycling folk, enjoy a sleepy dawn chorus ride or paint a mural on the Solar System Greenway. These are just some of the free and fun activities on offer during York’s first #walkcyclefestival which runs from 28 May to 4 June.

Hosted by York Bike Belles and community partners including York Civic Trust, Sustrans, York Greenways, York Explore, St Nicks and the Red Tower, the Festival will bring the community together to celebrate its unique heritage. Walks and rides will guide you around buildings from York’s past, into York’s best green spaces, and into a world of sculpture, performance, and painting with walking and cycling activities run by talented local artists. This will include a one-off performed walk with monks from Holy Trinity Church, along the walls, to a specially mown labyrinth in the Museum Gardens!

The Festival launches with a community party in Rowntree Park on Sunday 28 May, 11 – 4. Try a wacky bike with Get Cycling, have your bike fixed by Dr Bike, enjoy music from the Arts Barge Project or make your own bunting. Local charity, IDAS, are holding their annual cycling challenge from the park that morning and cyclists will be welcomed back with music and cake.

Sheridan Piggott, chair of York Bike Belles and Festival organiser, says “We are now working with over 40 community partners and volunteers in no fewer than 18 themed walks and rides over the Festival week. It’s been amazing to see the community come together around a shared love of walking and cycling around York and its heritage. We hope the Festival will inspire more people to enjoy walking and cycling around our beautiful city.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Chair of One Planet York, says “Walking and cycling is good for our health, our local economy and the environment. This inspirational festival marks a major step on York’s journey to being a more sustainable and resilient ‘One Planet’ city.”

Carmel Offord, Community Engagement Officer for charity IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Service) says “Join our sponsored cycle on Sunday 28th May, you can sign up on the day for just £10. Routes include a 25 mile cycle to Beningbrough Hall and a 50 mile out to Castle Howard. Routes are planned on quiet roads with regular stops and refreshments provided. Find us in Rowntree Park near the Walk-Cycle Festival site, look for the pink gazebo. Cyclists should arrive at 9.30am. Cyclists will receive a goody bag and a cake reward! For more information please visit”

Peter Eland, Publicity for the York Rally says "Brilliant idea to bring together York's walking and cycling volunteers - as the all-volunteer York Rally organising team we're proud to be joining so many inspirational York groups in the festival. Meet us in Rowntree Park or on the evening social ride to Poppleton on the Monday of the Festival”.

Derek Utley from Treemendous York says “Why do willows weep? What happens to maidens who wash in the dew of the hawthorn tree? Which tree protects you from witches? These and many other odd facts about trees will come to light during a one and a half York Tree Trail around the city centre of York during the Festival.”

Andy Shrimpton of Cycle Heaven says “We’re really pleased to be part of York’s first #walkcyclefestival. And delighted to introduce our new free “cake confidence” community bike loan scheme to support new cyclists into cycling – with cake! Come on down to the park from I pm to try out a bike, including an electric bike.

More information at


Editor’s Notes:

• For further information, please contact Sheridan Piggott on 07900 977990,
• York Bike Belles is a volunteer-led community organisation in York. Our vision is that walking and cycling becomes the natural way to get around our beautiful city. We run monthly social rides and walks, bike maintenance workshops, a start cycling with cake scheme for new cyclists with Cycle Heaven, community bike loans, cycle buddying and active social media channels. All activities are free and a lot of fun.

• Our City Beautiful #walkcyclefestival 28 May – 4 June is a first for York. Community-led and funded by the BIG Lottery #BigCelebration Fund and i-travel York and part of the One Planet York movement, the Festival will bring community groups and local residents together in a free and fun week of walks and rides celebrating York’s heritage – on foot and by bike. More info at
• One Planet York is a growing network of groups, organisations and businesses actively working towards a more sustainable, resilient and collaborative future - with a vibrant and inclusive economy, strong resilient community and a healthy environment. More information can be found at / / Twitter