That Was A Year That Was

Heritage Trails and Remembrance Day Walk –

It was with frustration and sadness that the seventh annual Corsham Walking Festival scheduled for last June had to be cancelled and postponed, especially as the walks programme, the website and brochures were finalised before the first national lockdown. The Walking Festival was to be a highlight of several weeks of public events centred on Corsham which all were all sadly cancelled.

However, as more Corsham residents were required to look to the local paths and byways for their daily exercise, the completion of a local Heritage Trails project last April provided a welcome alternative to ‘lockdown’.

The Heritage trails proved extremely popular as gyms and sporting clubs were forced to close and walking became one of the few means of exercise readily and locally available for families to get involved with.

The Project was developed to encourage the local community and visitors to appreciate the historical environment and experience the natural beauty of the North West Wiltshire countryside.

The first part of the project involved improving the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) and path furniture: stiles, gates, waymarker posts and signs. In total 55.48 miles of PRoWs are included in the trails, resulting in a significant number of repairs and installations to make the trails accessible to all. Work included the installation of additional waymarker posts and the replacement of some of the stiles with kissing gates (See pictures).

The second part of the project saw the design of eight trail leaflets so that walkers can learn about local heritage and places of interest as they explore the trails ranging between four and ten miles. The improved paths, signage and the leaflets have inspired many more people to explore the area beyond the town, including nearby villages of Biddestone, Box and Colerne and live their cars in Corsham and use paths instead of roads.

The eight Heritage Trails can be viewed and downloaded from the Corsham Walking Festival website at: http://corshamwalkingfestival.org.uk/more/heritage-trails/

Remembrance Day November 2020 Commemorated by walkers –

Last November, the pandemic restrictions changed the way the town was able to mark Remembrance Day. The British Legion cancelled all parades at local war memorials and instead, a group of local ex-Service walkers walked 17 miles between the Town and Village War Memorials and Commonwealth War Graves sites around Corsham, laying British Legion Remembrance Crosses to commemorate the fallen.

Another eleven walkers from the St Bart’s Walking Group laid crosses on a ten-mile walk at two Commonwealth War Grave locations on the graves of the fallen of the two World Wars.

In all, crosses were laid at 5 War Memorials, 55 Commonwealth War Graves and 30 Service graves: a poignant and fitting way to combine walking with respect for those who fell in combat. It is now planned that this will become an annual event.

Report from Barry Cox and Jane Dezonie, Corsham Walking Festival Committee

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