Tarras Valley Nature Reserve

Langholm tell us that they are part of the Langholm Initiative which is a community  body formed to raise money to found the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve .  The Langholm Initiative have now succeeded in raising a further £2.2M to secure a further 5,000 acres of land from The Duke of Buccleuch. This makes a total of £6M raised in 2 years and the Tarras valley Nature Reserve will now extend to a total of 10,000 acres.
See, for example,  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/clk9rkrk1zko

They say “The photo shows the famous Langholm Moor and the B Road that crosses it. This  has become the best place in Mainland UK to watch Hen Harriers and other Raptors like Merlin, Short Eared Owls, and Buzzards. There is also an occasional Golden Eagle that appears on the Moor.  It was in the first 5000 acres purchased by Langholm Initiative.”


Stocksbridge Walkers recommended by the Ordnance Survey

Stocksbridge Walkers are Welcome is now a recommended route partner for the Ordnance Survey, OS Maps app and website. Since 1791, the OS has mapped Great Britain. Several years ago, as smartphones became the norm, the Ordnance Survey launched OS Maps. This allowed users, for the first time, to view, navigate and download up-to-date maps. The app is used by millions of people to plan their outdoor adventures. The free version gives access to standard mapping and all routes https://osmaps.com .

Deputy Mayor of Stocksbridge, Mark Whittaker, said, ‘this deserved recognition not only validates the work carried out by this local group but also cements Stocksbridge as one of the best, and possibly the most under-rated, walking centres in the UK.’

Outlines of all the walking routes developed by Stocksbridge Walkers are Welcome are now available via this internationally respected outlet. Detailed instructions for all the routes continue to be available from the local website: https://stocksbridge-walkers.org.uk/. The group can also be found on Facebook here.

A visit from Clare Balding!

Helen Dudley from Alton says “Having written to the BBC’s Ramblings programme three years ago I was very surprised to get an email from the programme’s editor recently asking for a chat to discuss a possible walk with Walk Alton in East Hampshire. Some 7 weeks later we were out walking with Clare Balding and producer Karen Gregor.

It was all surprisingly light touch and easy to set up. Essentially Ian Fleming and I recce’d a walk aimed at showcasing what the area has to offer – beautiful steep sloping beech hangers offering amazing views, an ancient woodland (Binswood) owned and managed by the Woodland Trust and an unusual heathland (Shortheath), and all this within the South Downs National Park (SDNP).

Ian did his research on the history and geology of the area and we invited Natalie Beckell from Alton Town Council, who we work with on the twice yearly Alton walking festivals, and Elinor Newman, an engagement ranger with the SDNP who has specialist knowledge in the wildlife supported by the sandy heathland, to join us.

On the day Clare and Karen met us at the Three Horseshoes pub in East Worldham who we have partnered with to produce local walks leaflets, and we set off. They showed no signs of fatigue – surprising really as on the previous two days they had recorded walks in Malham Cove and Dovedale, not to mention driving many miles! No preamble or briefings, just off for another walk. We chatted along the way, stopping only for the noise of what seemed like lots of planes from Farnborough Air show flying overhead. At Shortheath Elinor told us all about the wildlife and certainly brought it alive with her amazing impressions of the sounds of a stag beetle, a nightjar and asking if we’d heard the turtle dove on entering the heath only to recreate the sound for us. We couldn’t have hoped for a more enthusiastic and knowledgeable expert.

On the way back, we passed some of the very last hop poles stacked against a tree, remnants of the now extinct hop growing industry that Alton was once famed for. We topped it off with a much needed drink in the pub.

To hear more you’ll have to wait until the new series goes out on Radio 4 in the autumn, or catch it on BBC Sounds. And of course you will have the chance to visit the area/do this walk in October (4-9) when we are hosting the Walkers are Welcome Annual Event alongside our autumn walking festival. We hope you will.”

Dursley: A Kissing Gates celebration

Dursley Welcomes Walkers say they  are fortunate to have excellent links with the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, especially their very experienced local work party. So when the local Long Distance Walkers Group (Bristol and west branch) came up with an offer of funding, they were able to negotiate the replacement of old stiles on the Coaley Parish section of our flagship 14-mile Lantern Way route. Once the installation was complete, they organised a public walk to enjoy the improvements. Nearly 50 people participated, some travelling a fair distance to join in. At coffee time when they had reached the community-run shop in Coaley, they publicly thanked all the organisations involved. The party included several Wardens who had helped install the gates and representatives from two of the local parish councils. Parts of the walk were new for many participants. The weather was good, everyone enjoyed it, and the events was covered in  a full page spread in the local paper giving Dursley Welcomes Walkers some great publicity.

Dereham’s Heritage Walks

Three years ago, Dereham Walkers are Welcome opened a dialogue with Dereham Heritage Trust, to add a town walk to its usual suite of walks out into the Norfolk countryside.  It was arranged with a view to including it in the Heritage Open Days programme.  We all know what happened in the following months, but the world didn’t stand still, and the dialogue was extended to two further town walks – one to look at the industrial heritage sites in Dereham (sadly most now gone and redeveloped) and one to look at Georgian Dereham, and in particular the work of John and Ellenor Fenn.  These are now planned for August and September, the latter as part of the 2022 HODs week.  In the meantime, the Town History walk took place as planned; the photo shows some of the party at the entrance to the town’s museum, located in Bishop Bonner’s Cottages and staffed by volunteers from our partners in the Dereham Heritage Trust.

Hampshire Live – Featuring Whitchurch, North Hampshire’s Hidden Gem.

It seems the message is getting out there to the delight of team Whitchurch;

an extract from Hampshire Live’s feature article promoting all that is great about Whitchurch, Hampshire’s smallest town….

“The winding two-mile walk with riverside views that explores the history of Hampshire’s smallest town.

From silk mills to listed buildings, the small town has a fascinating history.

The warm weather and brilliant sunshine mean it is the perfect time to get outdoors and explore all that Hampshire has to offer. From beaches to outdoor cinemas to New Forest walks, there is plenty to do. But the little known areas of Hampshire are worth a visit, too.

With the accolade of being Hampshire’s smallest town, it would be easy to assume there is not a lot to do in Whitchurch – particularly when compared to the hustle and bustle of major shopping towns and cities in the county. But what it lacks in high street retail names, it makes up for in charm and historical interest. With quaint cottages and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is a picture-perfect town.

There is a wealth of history to explore, and the beautiful scenery combined with ancient tales makes Whitchurch well worth a visit”.

You can read the full article here  
Find out about the Whitchurch Heritage Trail here

Seat Project on Langholm Walks

In the last month Langholm Walks Group have placed 2 picnic tables and 4 seats on their network of walks in Langholm. These are made of recycled plastic and a further 3 seats will be placed during the next month. A sum of £6,000 was raised from local charitable trusts to pay for this. These replace many of the broken seats that have been in place for years. The photograph is of one of the 2 picnic tables placed in the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve with sponsor Niall Weatherstone and the management team of the new Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, Jenny, Angela, and Kat.

Kirkby Stephen Animal Treasure Hunt

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome felt it would be a great idea to involve Jubilee Park, at the southern end of the town, which had been laid out for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
Today’s Jubilee Park has a mature woodland with an award-winning summerhouse designed by Elaine Blackett-Ord, a willow maze installed by Kirkby Stephen Community Arts and a wealth of wild and naturalised flowers. The park is currently undergoing some restoration by Kirkby Stephen Town Council as Trustees.

Union Jack bunting and knitted flowers in red, white and blue were installed together with a simple Animal Treasure Hunt which included that well-known woodland dweller Gruffalo and his mouse friend. The Dawdles walk group enjoyed the activity on Thursday as part of their Jubilee celebration before opening it to residents and visitors from the nearby Pennine View caravan site.

Answer sheets were delivered to the Upper Eden Visitor Centre for a prize draw which was won by Rebecca Louise and son Quintin. They chose gifts at the visitor centre and particularly loved the Bernese Mountain Dog glove puppet pictured.

Cowbridge South Wales join the fun!

The historic market town of Cowbridge has now joined the Walkers are Welcome network of towns. Situated only 5 miles from the Heritage Coast and 12 miles west of the Capital Cardiff, the town lies in the heart of the countryside. Cowbridge still retains part of its medieval walls and historic South Gate with many listed buildings along its attractive High Street. Numerous walking routes radiate in all directions to a number of attractive villages, woodlands, commons and coast. The town itself is a popular destination for those looking for independent shops, restaurants and pubs with character. See more here.

North Wessex Downs Walking Festival is Underway

The annual North Wessex Downs Walking Festival is now underway with group walks taking place all over the area.
Tuesday 14th June saw the first of two walks the Pewsey Vale Tourism Partnership is organising, with a walk led by Judy Kunkler from Pewsey Parish Council and the Pewsey Footpaths Group and Susie Brew from the Pewsey Vale Tourism Partnership. Having grown up in Pewsey and with many generations of her family living there over the years, Judy’s insights and stories really brought everything to life. It was a glorious day and the walk included Jones’s Mill Nature Reserve which was resplendent with orchids and butterflies. The walk finished with a hidden gem of a nature reserve, right in the centre of Pewsey, called The Scotchel which is alongside the edge of the River Avon – welcome cool on a hot day! A wonderful afternoon thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who went.
There are plenty more walks going on as the Festival continues until 26th June –  follow this link to the festival on the North Wessex Downs website.

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