GETTING out to explore the countryside this winter will be the focus of the Ramblers’ annual Festival of Winter Walks.

The Festival, which will take place from December 23 to January 7, includes a selection of free walks across the North East to "help with some winter walking inspiration".

The Festival of Winter Walks, supported this year by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has been running for over 25 years.

Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive of the Ramblers, said: “Winter is a wonderful time to get outdoors and enjoy your surroundings in the fresh air, but it can drop to the bottom of the list among all the competing demands of the holidays.

"Our Festival of Winter Walks offers an easy way to head out for a winter wander with friends and family.

"And if you feel like you’ve over indulged on turkey and mince pies, it’s a great way to help you kick start those New Year fitness resolutions too. If you need a little help in staying motivated, we’ve got just the thing.

"Sign up to our free online tracker, which allows you to log your walking activity and monitor your progress – a great way to make sure you keep walking."

All group walks during the Festival of Winter Walks are free to attend.

Vanessa added: "A foray out into the cold, fresh air is the perfect winter mood enhancer. And with such a diverse range of walks on offers, what starts out as a one-off Christmas or New Year walk could lead to life-long friendships and a serious walking habit."

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