FINALLY the weather is warming up encouraging us to get out of our winter comfort zones and get out and about.

Although we've had an unsettled start to the spring with chillier temperatures and who could forget the snow? - we have benefitted from a few balmy days so it appears the weather is finally going in the right direction.

As things begin to hot up - or so we hope - it gives us the opportunity to get out and about and explore the beauty of our home county.

The beautiful landscape embracing God's Own County is something many of us take for granted - yet the recent Tour de Yorkshire and the previous occasions when the prestigious cycle race has passed through our rural parts makes us appreciate it all the more.

Of course, the film footage from such events also showcases Yorkshire to the wider world, hopefully encouraging more tourists to visit and help boost the local economy.

I may be biased but it is one of the best places to live so, in that sense, we can all feel pretty blessed but I wonder how many have taken the opportunity to explore the beautiful landscape beyond their front doors?

The Ramblers Walk About Festival gives us all the opportunity to do just that - and find a few hidden gems in the process.

Running from May 26 until June 3 the Walk About Festival, supported this year by players of People's Postcode Lottery, aims to encourage people 'to explore their local area and uncover the hidden gems on their doorstep.'

Hundreds of free group walks are available nationwide and many of the walks highlight the hidden gems you can find along the way such as ancient ruins, unexpected views and peaceful picnic spots.

Chief Executive of the Ramblers, Vanessa Griffiths, said: “Anyone who loves walking will know it’s the best way to discover the world around you – it could be an amazing secret view, a quirky old building tucked down a side-street, or simply a great new walking route. We know lots of great spots and wonderful walks and want to share them with others.

“If you want to discover local places that are great for walking and enjoy the great outdoors in good company, come and join us on one of our walks. And bring your friends and family too - everyone is welcome!”

All walks during Walk About are free to attend and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re after a short summer stroll or you’re a seasoned walker looking for more of a challenge.

Derwent Edge, Saturday 2 June, 10am

9 miles, moderate

Not very hidden but unquestionably a gem! You’ve seen it from the valley but have you explored the ridge itself? There are fine views of three reservoirs – Ladybower with its flooded village, Derwent of dambusters fame and Hewden. There’s also curious rock formations & rock climbers below you. With the Rotherham Metro Ramblers.

Meet at the Cutthroat Bridge lay by S33 0AX.

Worth Valley circular, Sunday 3 June, 10.30am

5 miles, moderate

An excellent walk with the Keighley Ramblers, taking in Oakworth, Haworth, and Stanbury, with its lovely moorland countryside.

Meet on Wide Lane, Oakworth, beside the crematorium, BD22 0RJ.

Calderdale Way, Sunday 3 June, 10.30am

8 miles, moderate

Join the Calderdale Ramblers for this circular walk from Brighouse along the canal to Brookfoot, up to the hilltop village of Southowram on the Calderdale Way. You’ll then head down and back to Brighouse via the canal.

Meet at Brighouse bus station, HD6 1AQ.

For more information about the Ramblers Walk About festival or to get involved with the walking charity visit