Flash Gordon star gives his blessing to fundraising walk to help manage Peak District trails

Brian Blessed on the Monsal Trail with Emma Stone, Trails Manager, Peak District National Park.

Brian Blessed on the Monsal Trail with Emma Stone, Trails Manager, Peak District National Park.

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Actor and adventurer Brian Blessed is backing a pioneering campaign to help care for the Peak District National Park’s traffic-free trails.

‘Walk in the Park’ aims to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors and raise money to look after the trails at a time of reduced Government funding.

The family-friendly walk will be held on Saturday August 20 along the Monsal Trail and feature three different lengths - five, eight or 16 miles

Flash Gordon star Blessed - who has made three attempts to climb Mount Everest and is the oldest man to reach the magnetic North Pole on foot - spent large parts of his childhood in the Peak District and retains a deep affection for the area. He visited the park on Wednesday to throw his support behind its first major fundraising campaign.

He said: “I grew up discovering Mam Tor, Back Tor and Kinder Scout. I explored the whole Hope Valley – these hills and moors were my jungle! We have to remember that National Parks are not ours – they are ours to look after. We all have a responsibility to care for Britain’s Breathing Spaces.

“I think ‘Walk in the Park’ is a wonderful initiative and I for one will do whatever I can to support it.”

All funds raised will be used to help meet the cost of maintaining the Peak District National Park’s 34 miles of traffic-free trails, including the Monsal, Tissington, High Peak and Thornhill trails, which are used by hundreds of walkers, cyclists and horse riders every day.

The maintenance costs £5 per metre per year, not including the viaducts, bridges, tunnels and other manmade structures along the routes.

Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible for ‘Walk in the Park’. We are planning plenty of exciting activities so it’s going to be a great, fun-filled weekend and we want to make it an annual event.

“The idea is to help people get closer to nature and raise some money at the same time for the trails that everyone loves. It will be a good opportunity for local businesses too as it will bring people to the area – we hope they will get involved in any way they can.”

Family fundraising tickets, which include parking, two nights’ camping for up to four people at Bakewell Showground and lots of activities, cost £60, with similar camping tickets for individuals priced at £30. For those not camping, fundraising tickets are £30 for families and £15 for individuals, including parking.

The cost will also cover a range of activities, including fly fishing, guided ranger activities, storytelling, a circus and circus skills school.

Walkers will be asked to raise a suggested minimum of £40 per person in sponsorship.

For tickets and further information, visit www.peakwalkinthepark.com.

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