The Fair Trade Way

It is estimated that between 1.5 and 2.5 billion people have little or no access to the most basic of human needs. Much of this can be attributed to unfair trading systems.

The Fair Trade Way is a long-distance heritage trail on the three related local themes of fair trade, the British Atlantic slave trade and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The 6-day walk links Fairtrade Towns between Garstang (The World’s first Fair Trade Town) and Keswick. It was created to promote the positive impact that using Fair Trade products can have on the lives of people who suffer whilst they produce the resources that we in the more wealthy countries consume in our everyday lives. Whilst following the route, walkers are encouraged to endorse the principles of Fair Trade by enjoying Fair Trade food and beverages where possible. If required, they can also seek out accommodation that use Fair Trade products.

The Fair Trade Way criteria:

  1. Each day should (where possible) start and end in a Fair Trade town, city, village or island.
  2. Actual and potential premises for Fair Trade refreshment should be included on the routes.
  3. Places of national scenic, historic, environmental and/or cultural importance should be included.
  4. Where possible roads are to be avoided and Public Rights of Way should be used.


January 2017 update – THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FAIR TRADE WALKS – Literary Walks, March & April 2017

The first Festival of Fair Trade Walks will focus on three themes: walking, Fair Trade and local literary connections.  Groups will be encouraged to organise walks during the months of March and April 2017 with options of walking on International Poetry Day (21 March) or during Fairtrade Fortnight in the UK.  As part of the Festival FIG Tree volunteers will walk a new branch of the Fair Trade Way from Grasmere to Pooley Bridge to commemorate the anniversary of Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodil Walk’ on 15th April 2017 (see below).


  1. Incorporating Fair Trade into the walk

The walks should start, finish or stop by at least one Fair Trade entity.  Walks can take place from or between Fair Trade Towns, cafes, schools, businesses or groups. Examples of walks:

  • Between one Fair Trade Town to another Fair Trade Town
  • From a Fair Trade school to a café or business selling Fair Trade products
  • From a Fair Trade site to a site of literary importance

There are many possible combinations and it is up to the local group/school/organisation to decide where they want to go and how to incorporate the themes of Fair Trade and literary connections into their walks.

Participants are encouraged to eat Fair Trade snacks along the way and wear Fair Trade clothes etc during the walks.

  1. Literary Connections

Examples of literary connections could be:

  • Walking on the day of a local writer or poet’s birthday
  • Inviting a local writer to take part in the walk
  • Walks exploring a writer or poet’s local connections e.g passing by their homes and the places which inspired and influenced them.
  1. Share your walk

For further information and to share your walk visit The Scottish Fair Trade Forum (SFTF) dedicated webpage. Groups can also join the Festival of Fair Trade Walks Facebook Group to share ideas and photos to inspire others.

A full list of walks is provided on the SFTF website here and a brief overview provided below:

1. Fair Trade Wales  –  

  1. St David’s Day Walk – Saturday 1st March – A walk around Swansea City Centre, distributing free poetry books and fair trade food!
  2. Idris Davies walk in the Rhymney Valley – Saturday 11th March

2. The FIG Tree, Lancaster, UK – Saturday 15th April. Distance: 17 miles.  Start time: 8am. Expected end time: 5pm. Starting from the footpath that runs alongside Eusemere House (previous home of slave trade abolitionist Thomas Clarkson)  in Pooley Bridge: Grid Reference 471243. Finish at Dove Cottage (previous home of William Wordsworth), Grasmere. This new branch of the Fair Trade Way will  trace the path taken by Clarkson in visiting his friend, fellow abolitionist and poet. It will pass by the site that inspired Wordsworth’s most famous work “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” when the poet took the reverse route to visit Clarkson. The walk will take place on 15th April 2017, exactly 215 years after Wordsworth came across the “long belt” of daffodils with his sister Dorothy.     Contact:                                                              

3. Bradford Fairtrade Zone and Bronte Society event, Friday 21st April – “Walk the Talk, the Bronte Way”. Distance 8 miles. Start 9.30 for 10am at St. James Church, Thornton  (birthplace of the famous Bronte sisters), to Haworth (Bronte home). Arr approx 2.30pm. This walk will be accompanied by local Bronte and history experts and follow the historic route taken by the Bronte family when they moved to Haworth Parsonage in 1820. Walking across the exposed moorland familiar to the Brontes, will hopefully provide inspiration for some creative writing on the themes of gender equality and social reform, past and present. On arrival in Haworth there will be a talk on Rev. Patrick Bronte and his campaigns for social justice. During the day at the Museum there will be a range of informal talks about Charlotte Bronte to mark 201 years since her birth on 21st April 1816, and a writing workshop with local author Glynis Charlton exploring the richness of the theme of journeys. Contact 01535 647776.

4. Baskinta Baytouna Association, Baskinta, Lebanon, Sunday 23rd April – Working with the Lebanese Mountain Trail Association, the Baskinta Municipality and Fair Trade Lebanon the walk will take place on the Baskinta Literature Trail on the beautiful Sannine mountain. Walkers can learn more about the famous authors of Baskinta, Mikhael Nouaime, Abdallah Ghanem, Georges Ghanem, Rashid Ayoub and Sleiman Kettaneh and the famous painter Georges Oryan. The Fair Trade Baskinta Committee will offer walkers tasty Easter pastries on the trail.

5. Fair Trade Scotland

  1. Perth and Kinross, Saturday 29th April – A walk around Loch Leven (using the existing heritage trail). The walk will be a celebration of the achievement of the Perth and Kinross Fairtrade Zone status.
  2. East Ayrshire Zone, during Fairtrade Fortnight – A walk in the Ayrshire village of Fenwick – the home of the first cooperative society. The group will use points on the Fenwick Weavers trail to highlight how Fair Trade and cooperatives go hand in hand. The walk finishes at the Fair Trade market. 

6. Fairtrade Malton and Norton group, Saturday 29th April – A walk from Robin Hoods Bay to Boggle Hole Youth Hostel and back, either on the beach or on the Cleveland Way, about 4 miles. Meeting Robin Hoods Bay top car park at 10am. Sampling FT drinks at the Youth Hostel and celebrating the Hobgoblins of the moors!  All are welcome.
Contact Janice for more details.


Important Note: The initial Fair Trade Way and these related walks are arranged by volunteers and any groups taking part in the Festival of Fair Trade Walks are responsible for their own health and safety.

The Co-op is kindly supporting the 2017 International Festival of Fair Trade Walks.

The Co-op is kindly supporting the 2017 International Festival of Fair Trade Walks.

Read a summary of the Fair Trade Way route here.

Read “The Story of the Fair Trade Way” here