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Coleford’s first year

A year’s reflections and looking forward

Posted on behalf of Jack Sturgess (Secretary CWW)

Since its inception in August 2021, Coleford Welcomes Walkers (CWW) has been hard at work laying the foundations for important work to be carried out. A lot of time has been invested into this important stage in CWW’ history, and the full extent of this effort can be found within the Chair’s Annual Report

In short, there has been a large amount of networking taking place not only to gather the right permissions to undertake extensive work, but to promote collaboration between local groups to work together under a shared love of Coleford. The Annual report also contains CWW’s  reflections on the year’s actions and a vision for the following year; a summary of which is contained below.

Moving into the new year, CWW, having all the correct licenses and permissions important works can now be undertaken. To this end CWW has undertaken its first major project in 2023; a comprehensive clean-up of the main car park in Coleford. Take a peek at the news article here

This has long since been an action CWW has been keen to instigate and now, in collaboration with the Forest of Dean District Council, CWW have been able begin the cleaning of signs from grime and dirt, the clearing of parking bays from years of built-up mud, and hopefully inject a sense of pride into the surroundings of residents of Coleford. Ubico (The Forest of Dean District Council contractor) has helped in this endeavour through the disposal of collected material (to be recycled at a local allotment) and assistance with the busiest regions of the car park. They have also supported CWW’s work generally, through the cutting back of trees and vegetation beyond their ability to manage and have been very communicative in informing them of the work Ubico undertake both onsite and independently.

Thanks to a grant via the Build Back Better scheme, CWW has been able to purchase a small supply of equipment for its volunteers to use to keep paths clear and tidy, maintain prior work and assist in the efforts of CWW’s  ongoing projects (typically held every Sunday).

Coleford’s Public Rights of Way Officer, Jeff Wheeler, has been exceptional in his steadfast support of CWW’s actions and has maintained strong links with them   to ensure resources available to Coleford are used to the best benefit of the town. It is thanks to his efforts that Committee members and volunteers have had access to training courses on all things Public Rights of Way, and a further opportunity to receive training to use power tools on footpaths is in the pipeline.

CWW is eager to promote the many walking routes available in and around the town of Coleford, with the Walks and Resources section of the website containing written directions for a number of routes. The written walking routes are something that CWW are keen to expand upon this year, trying to facilitate people regardless of ability as CWW feels walking should be accessible to as many people as possible.

CWW continues to collaborate with other established groups to provide a series of walks throughout the year. Having already partnered with Forest of Dean Community Walks to provide a weekly community walk from the Coleford Clock Tower , see here.  This is something that continues to see great success and CWW are eager to emulate with other groups.

CWW are passionate about the many ways that walking can be applied to everyday life; be it netwalking your way through a business  meeting; going out on a walk with friends; or unlocking your poetic muse in the nature of Coleford; CWW are keen to expand walking to as many as possible in all its imaginative guises.

This also includes promoting walking to a wide range of people. CWW is committed to supplying a diverse, inclusive environment where all can enjoy walking equally. CWW have a strong diversity and inclusivity policy which should foster a safe environment for people to come together under a shared love of Coleford and a desire to walk.

CWW will continue to remain active in the coming year. Now that much of the preliminary work has been completed, CWW are able to begin work on many more projects and expand the scope of their activities. Be sure to keep an eye on their social media pages for updates – it is sure to be a busy year!

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