BBC COUNTRYFILE Magazine's Mark Rowe will help launch the Isle of Wight Walking Festival this weekend.

The magazine's contributing editor, broadsheet columnist and keen walker will lead a nine-mile river and coastal walk around Bembridge tomorrow (Saturday), and give an evening talk at Quay Arts, Newport.

The festival, which runs until May 13, features a host of themed walks for all ages and abilities.

In a nod to the Isle of Wight Festival, this year's programme includes a Jimi Hendrix Afton Experience walk next Friday, May 4, followed by another themed walk, Bob Dylan and Wootton’s Musical Landmarks, on Saturday, May 5.

With its huge swathes of AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land, 60 miles of heritage coastline and more than 500 miles of public footpaths, the Isle of Wight has long been recognised as a walker’s paradise and the festival regularly attracts a large number of visitors.

Previously run by the Isle of Wight Council, the festival was saved last year after tourist board Visit Isle of Wight stepped in to fund it.

This year, it is sponsored by Warner Leisure Hotels.

A Visit Isle of Wight spokesperson said: "We are especially thrilled at the passion and dedication the walk leaders have shown in making this year’s festival into what promises to be a fantastic event."

For further information about the festival, and to book a place on any of the walks, visit