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Dawn Chorus - where the Festival begins!

DAWN CHORUS - created by dawn sky and dewdrops, birdsong and beauty, minstrels and musicians, storytellers and circus skills, poets and performers, and celebrated by them and you!  

Lawn Woods, High Street, Old Town SN1 3EN

5.30am! ~ Monday 3rd May ~ Free!


As the sun rises over sleeping Swindon, this all-weather outdoor event marks the start of the thirtieth Swindon Festival of Literature.

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A STORYWALK IN THE PARK – with storyteller Cat Weatherill, for health, well-being, and a few fine stories along the way! 

Stable Block, Lydiard Park, West Swindon SN5 3PA
2pm ~ 1st May ~ Free!

Join Festival followers for a short walk, with stories, by the big lake, under the greenwood trees, and back through the park, for a cup of tea, a biscuit, and friendship. 
A walk with stories: perfect for everyone!
Cat Weatherill is a globe-trotting storyteller who does not sit in a chair and does not read from a book. She tells her tales by heart, and they will go to yours.

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FREEDOM RUN – a gentle 5k run in lovely Lydiard Park with friendly and supportive Swindon parkrunners and two brilliant outdoors-loving authors. 
Presented in association with Lydiard parkrun, and Seven Fields parkrun, 

Lydiard Park, by the House, West Swindon SN5 3PA
2pm ~ 1st May ~ Free!

The run will be followed by a short rest, with refreshing REFRESHMENTS, and then two authors talking and answering questions! 

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Lydiard House, West Swindon SN5 3PA 
Tel 01793 535534

3pm ~ 1st May ~ £5

ISABEL HARDMAN – on the benefits of being outdoors!
As well as love, money, friendship, and music, what else is really good for our health, happiness, and well-being? Answers: movement, exercise, walking, running, swimming, and maybe most of all, the great outdoors! But why? What is so good and right about being outdoors? There are answers!
In her book The Natural Health Service, former Journalist of the Year, award-winning author and broadcaster Isabel Hardman draws on her own personal experience and the latest research to examine what role nature and exercise can play in improving both physical and mental well-being. 

EILEEN JONES – on parkrun and parkruns.
In her books p is for parkrun and How parkrun Changed Our Lives, Lake District writer and former fell-runner Eileen Jones describes the powerfully-cohesive force of the parkrun community, the dedicated runners, walkers, and volunteers whom she calls her parkrun family and who can be found at a local parkrun or almost anywhere around the world. If you are a parkrunner, walker, or volunteer, you’ll love Eileen’s books. If you’re not, her stories will inspire you to become one!

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GAIL SIMMONS – on the joys of walking!


Lower Shaw Farm, West Swindon SN5 5PJ
Tel 01793 535534
6pm ~ 1st May ~ £7 (6)

What does a journey on our own two feet give us? Can walking offer us more than simply exercise? Is walking also a move away from some of the burdens of our everyday lives? How far do we need to walk to discover its joys? Where should or could we walk to get the best from walking? Any other questions, about walking for well-being?
Author, academic, and broadcaster, Gail Simmons is a ‘walking writer’. Her latest book is Between the Chalk and the Sea – a journey on foot into the past. On an antique map in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, a faint red line threading through towns and villages suggests a significant, though long-forgotten, road. Renamed the Old Way, medieval pilgrims are thought to have travelled this route to reach the celebrated shrine of Thomas Becket. Described as England’s Camino, this long-distance footpath carves its way through one of the nation’s most iconic landscapes – one that links prehistoric earthworks, abandoned monasteries, Saxon churches, and ruined castles.

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