THE week long Ride2Stride Settle -Carlisle walking and music festival is back for another year.

Beginning on Tuesday, April 30, the eighth annual festival, which was held for the first time in 2012, celebrates the Settle -Carlisle Railway, which 30 years ago this month was saved from closure.

Previously described by The Telegraph as Britain’s best free walking festival, walks, music sessions and informative talks, take place along the length of the railway.

A week long celebration of the wonderful landscape and culture of the Western Dales and Eden Valley, people are encouraged to use the rail network to reach the festival.

Walks will be led from stations by experienced walk leaders, speakers will share their knowledge and love of the area, and the pubs will be buzzing with music and song from the late afternoons to late into the night.

A spokesman said: “Ride2stride is for everyone who loves the Yorkshire Dales.

“Whether you travel to an event by train, live along the line or book your holiday to take advantage of the festival, you’ll have a great time.”

There are 30 walks, ranging from the easy to strenuous, of five to 15 miles in length, taking in the area’s dramatic countryside, and interesting wildlife. There are also talks, by campaigners, archaeologists and authors.

The spokesman added: “Every day of the festival, there are a number of walks on offer, all leaving from stations along the line.

“The walks are organised by different groups, each one led by an experienced walk leader. There are 30 led walks and one guided tour. They all start directly from a station where people will be met from the train buy the walk leader.”

Organisers say those taking part should always arrive properly prepared, with good walking boots and clothes, including waterproofs, as the weather in the Dales can quickly change from sun to rain. People should also have enough food and drink to last them a full day.

Led walks are free, but some routes make use of a bus, for which there will be a charge.

Walks classed as ‘easy’ mean they are leisurely, with regular stops for viewing and refreshments. If there are any climbs included, they will be of a fairly modest gradient and length.

Those described as ‘moderate’ are aimed at the more experienced walker, with routes likely to take a full day at a steady pace. They may also include steeper gradients and difficult terrain.

Strenuous walks will take a full day at a brisk pace, including steep slopes and difficult terrains, there could also be ‘scrambles’.

“Throughout the festival week, pubs along the line will be buzzing with buzzing with music and song,” said the spokesman.

“Each day sees a different venue hosting some of the best folk musicians from the region. On most days, the music will run from the mid-afternoon and late into the evening, with breaks.

“On each day, a number of the walks will finish near the venue, so people can enjoy the music before catching the train home.”

Talks will include ‘curious tales from the ancient graveyard’ at The Folly, Settle, on Wednesday, May 1; the geology of Yorkshire’s waterfalls, at Settle Social Club, also on May 1; and ‘steaming along the Welsh Highland Railway, at Settle Social Club, on Thursday, May 2. There will also be a guided tour of Ribblehead Viaduct on May 2, when people will learn about the navvies who built the railway and the viaduct, walk along the sites of the former shanty towns and take the train through the tunnel to Garsdale before heading back to Ribblehead for tea.

Live music every night of the festival will take place in pubs, The Royal Oak, Settle; The Midland Hotel, Appleby; The Black Bull, Kirkby Stephen, The Moorcock, Garsdale Head, The Station Inn, Ribblehead, The Crown, Horton in Ribblesdale, and the Three Peaks Folk Club, Settle. Entry to the music sessions will be free, but there will be ‘bucket collections’ to cover the musicians’ expenses.

For more information about the festival,