Swaffham prepares for 10-day walking and cycling festival and jubilee picnic

Swaffham residents will be squeezing into their hiking boots and fastening their cycle helmets as they prepare for the town's first 10-day cycling and walking festival.

The town, which recently became the first place in East Anglia to win accreditation to the Walkers are Welcome scheme, hopes to reinforce its reputation as a destination for healthy outdoor activities.

The festival takes its first steps on Friday when a bike and walk to school day encourages youngsters at Swaffham schools to get to their lessons by two of the healthiest and cheapest forms of transport.

The holiday weekend will start with a bike safety market stall in the Market Place on Saturday, and walkers information booklets will be available at a farmers' market stall the following day.

The official launch of the Walkers are Welcome scheme will take place on Monday, with a led walk around one of the town's walks featured in the Norfolk health, heritage and biodiversity walks booklet published last year.

The festival's influence will also be felt during the town's diamond jubilee picnic in the Market Place on June 5, where the 'balance bikes world championship' will take place. The bring-your-own picnic event will start at noon, and also include a barbecue and bouncy castle.

Wednesday will see an Active Norfolk led walk and a 25 mile cycle time trial in the evening for experienced riders, with another cycle event around the Brecks the following day, and another led walk on Friday.

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The festival's final weekend will see Swaffham's outdoor auction take on a cycle theme, while a family cycle ride will start in the town centre at 2pm on Sunday June 10.

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