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The First Annual Return for 2022 received

This first Annual Return for 2022 was received on 6th December from Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway. Walkers are Welcome would like to celebrate their work and the dedication of Gavin Graham, the Chairman and Secretary of this small Langholm Walks Group.  We have extracted some of their achievements from their Annual Return and other news to highlight.

This has been a difficult year in Langholm due to Storm Arwen at the end of 2021. In a matter of a couple of hours at the end of November 2021, the storm blew down thousands of trees on their network of over 90 miles of waymarked walks The town was completely cut off and all 14 of their walks were closed. It was a month before the first of the local walks was cleared and it took a full year before all the walks were opened with the last walk finally completed on 1st December 2022. They are totally indebted to Buccleuch Estates and their team of workers who have cleared all the paths together with some support from Dumfries & Galloway Council Access Department.

In 2021, they applied to six local Charitable Trusts for support in a plan to place new recycled plastic seats on their network of walks. Initially it was hoped to purchase ten seats and five picnic tables, and their application was based on the prices at the time. They raised £5,500 for the project but by the time they received funding, the cost of recycled seats had risen by almost 50% due to the pandemic. In March 2022, seven seats and two picnic tables were purchased, and these were placed on the walks during the summer months. They had lots of publicity on social networks and in the local Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser.

They have also raised £7,500 to add to their £2,500 making a total of £10,000. This money was raised from one local charitable trust, The Arthur Bell Trust and a local Windfarm Charitable Trust. This will be used to create a new website as the Langholm walks website  is 21 years old and considered outdated. They will also update and reprint Langholm Walks Booklet No 4 which has sold over 1,200 copies, with only 300 left. This will be their project for 2023.

Langholm Walks have also worked closely with the Langholm Initiative in the purchase of the 10,000 acres of land from The Duke of Buccleuch. This was finally completed in November 2022 at a final cost of £6 Million. The publicity that has been generated for the community for the project  has been huge with national press and TV. The Tarras Valley Nature Reserve is starting to be created and already has five full-time employees with more jobs planned.  (See also earlier news items on this page)

The final project in 2022 was to create a new diversion for a walk closed due to a dangerous bridge on the walk. This was done in cooperation with The David Stevenson Trust and D & G Council as the walk was one of their Core Path Network Walks and part of our own network. They succeeded in raising £10,000 for this project and the walk reopened in July 2022, after being closed for a year.

Gavin produces a monthly article about local walks in the Eskdale & Liddesdale Advertiser which is their local newspaper, and this is well received by locals and visitors which have increased since COVID lockdowns. In November 2022, Gavin was given a well-deserved award by The Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine for Volunteer of the Year in Dumfries and Galloway for his work with Langholm Walks and The Buccleuch .  This was featured in the press Border TV and social media.

Gavin says he’s found great satisfaction in his volunteering positions of 60 years but the recent purchase of Langholm Moor has given him reason to be particularly proud as he was involved in the initial set-up of the Langholm Moor Education Trust. He says “I am slowly winding down and I am now only involved with Langholm Walks Group” Thanks also go to his family and friends including his wife, Gaye.

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