SMUGGLER’S trails, wild play activities and wildlife are some of the treats awaiting walkers in this autumn’s extended New Forest Walking Festival. Dozens of guided walks led by local experts will be available and booking is now open online.

Routes that take you behind the scenes to reveal the area’s history and heritage are available from Saturday, October 12 to Sunday, November 3, which includes half term week.

The extended festival is part of the nationwide Year of Green Action, a year-long drive to get more people from all backgrounds involved in projects to celebrate and protect the natural world. It is also a celebration of 70 years since National Parks were established.

Run by the New Forest National Park Authority with support from Forest organisations and businesses, the festival has proved popular with residents and visitors since it began in 2013. In 2018 more than 1,600 people enjoyed 75 behind the scenes family strolls, history hikes, wildlife walks.

Walks cover topics including:

* Free-roaming pigs, ponies and the traditional rights of commoning

* Wild play activities for children

* WWII experimental sites

* Secret forests

* Top tips for bird watching.

Many of the walks are free or discounted thanks to the festival being supported by the £4.4m National Heritage Lottery Fund Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.

The festival is run in partnership with many local organisations including the Forestry Commission, Hampshire County Council, and New Forest Ramblers and Hampshire.

For full details, including booking, visit