Bingley in the Picture

Bingley Walkers are Welcome have teamed up with Bingley Camera Club and obtained a small grant from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority for a project to encourage people to walk. Physical activity such as walking has so many health benefits, and also provides a brilliant opportunity to use phones or cameras to take photographs.

Bingley say  “We are particularly keen to encourage people who don’t normally go walking or take photographs to give it a go.We will be running a monthly photo walk challenge competition. To participate go to Bingley Walkers are Welcome website and choose one of our self-guided walks or join one of our second Sunday monthly group walks.We have also developed a new ‘photo-clue’ family friendly short walk around Bingley, where walkers follow the clues to solve a puzzle. Whichever walk is chosen, we will be encouraging walkers to take some photos, and they will be able to submit a photo from their walk and tell us a bit about themselves. We will choose a prize winner each month who will receive a £30 voucher to print out their photographs, with a grand prize of £50 awarded when the project finishes at the end of the year. Visit Bingley Walkers are Welcome or Bingley Camera Club’s website for further details. Bingley Camera Club will be hosting one of the walks at the Bingley Walking Festival on Bank Holiday Monday August 30th.”

Walkers are Welcome CIC has been pleased to be able to help Bingley to facilitate this grant funding in view of governance requirements.

Artful Ways in Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen & District Walkers are Welcome, Dawdles walk group is taking part in the Cumbria wide Artful Ways project https://artful-ways-cumbria.com/   . Together with many others, they will be creating a new map of Cumbria showing walking routes between artistic and cultural places, and connections between the wonderful creative people around the county.

There will be two walks firstly, on Thursday 1st July taking a walk around Kirkby Stephen’s Poetry Path when taking your turn to recite one of the poems is almost compulsory. You will be invited to submit a piece of artwork for the website and a touring exhibition or simply enjoy the experience and take your work home. Suggestions might include your poem inspired by the stones or landscape, a photograph or drawing, or you may simply wish to do a crayon rubbing from the stones.

The second walk on Thursday 22 July will be Lady Anne’s Way in Mallerstang from Aisgill to Outhgill and whilst taking in this spectacular landscape will link the artistic delights of The Watercut by Mary Bourne, the first of the Eden Benchmarks and the Andy Goldsworthy, Outhgill Pinfold Cone. Again you will be asked to feel the experience through your own artistic interpretation.

Contact Kirkby Stephen and let them know you would like to come along. http://www.walkeden.org/

Road improvements for walking

A potentially dangerous short section of road used by several popular long-distance footpaths has been made safer for walkers thanks to the work of Bradford Council officers.

The 200 metre section of road that leads from Weecher Reservoir on to Bingley and Burley Moors and links A Dales High Way, the Bradford Millennium Way, and the Welcome Way has had bollards installed and a place for walkers to use safely has been created.

Traffic along this stretch of Otley Road in the High Eldwick area of Bingley is very fast and the only verge on one side was difficult on foot due to a drainage ditch, now walkers are separate from the traffic and able to continue their journey in safety.

The four local Walkers Are Welcome groups (Otley, Bingley, Burley and Baildon) initially contacted the Highways Department of Bradford Council with an offer to work with them on the project and to raise funds and provide volunteer labour.

This wasn’t needed as Senior Engineer, Kevin Whitaker from Bradford Council’s Highways Department was able to work with Saira Ali a Landscape, Design, and Conservation Team Leader at the council who secured money from Tranche 2 of the Active Travel Fund. This supports councils to improve cycling and walking facilities in their areas, as part of the work to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kevin was then able to deploy a team of Highways workers to complete the work.

David Asher, representing the four Walkers Are Welcome groups, said: “We offered to raise some funds and to provide volunteer labour as we had done for previous projects, but in the end neither were required. We are most grateful to Kevin of Bradford Council’s Highways Service for his support for the creation of the new footway, and to Saira for applying for and gaining government funding to meet the cost. This means a much safer passage for walkers. Our thanks must go to the whole team at Bradford Council for making this happen.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This is just one of a number of measures we have put in place across the district using our Active Travel funds. All these measures are designed to make it easier and safer for people to walk or cycle around the district either as part of their commute, to access shops and services, or in this case for leisure.

“Our officers are working hard to put these measures in place and it is always good to see that hard work acknowledged and appreciated by local residents.”

Dover links with Calais

Pam Brivio was delighted to be invited to represent Dover Walkers are Welcome on 16th June at a recent ceremony on Dover seafront to celebrate the handover of the symbolic walking stick. Giancarlo Laurenzi OBE (Carlo) of The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome  (EAVF)   https://pilgrimstorome.org.uk/ passed it to Captain Nicholas Jones of P&O ferries who in turn, some hours later, will hand it over to representatives of the EAVF in Calais.
One of their steering group, Peter Morris, manager of North Downs Way was also present and had facilitated the transportation over to France. In view of COVID-19, walkers this end could not accompany the stick and continue the journey.
There was a two-day series of events, which began in Canterbury cathedral and forms part of the EAVF’s anniversary celebrations, The Road to Rome 2021. The stick, which originally came from Ireland, will travel for the next four months across mainland Europe to conclude the 3000 km pilgrimage. See  https://www.viefrancigene.org/it/
Funding for these events has been provided by The Green Pilgrimage Project, Interreg Europe from the European Regional Development Fund in partnership with Kent Downs AONB.

The Shropshire Way

Come to Shropshire and experience the diverse beauty of The Shropshire Way!

Dedicated volunteers have undertaken some incredible work to re-define and way-mark Shropshire’s own long-distance path, The Shropshire Way.  This 200-mile linear route links Shrewsbury with the historic towns and villages of Shropshire, through varied and beautiful countryside. There are five Walkers are Welcome towns on the route, Whitchurch in the North to Ludlow in the South, with Wellington, Much Wenlock and Bishops Castle in between.   The other two Shropshire WaW towns, Broseley and Cleobury Mortimer are only a short distance off route.   Several of these towns will be taking part in the 3rd Shropshire Way Festival from 20th to 28th September 2021, full details from the Shropshire Way Association website later in the year. 

Rationalising the Shropshire Way was an idea devised by Audrey Menhinick (Chair of the Shropshire Way Association) and the late John Newnham in 2016 to improve the Shropshire Way to become a full 192-mile-long distance path, with a 10-mile spur to Whitchurch. In recent years, many circular walks had been devised, obscuring the original route created by Ramblers in 1980, and resulting in a web of paths.

The Shropshire Way has a southern and a northern loop to form a figure of 8, centred on Shrewsbury. The Way is marked by a distinctive orange and black waymark with the directional buzzard pointing the way.

The informative website has downloads of the 15 stages, including user-friendly maps and directions, plus GPX files for mobile devices.  Volunteers have been recruited to be Stage Champions to monitor and maintain the Way.

The Shropshire Way Association (SWA) was re-formed in 2016 by members of local Ramblers and Walkers are Welcome groups, working closely with Shropshire Council’s Outdoor Partnership team.Progress has been swift. The SWA became a charitable trust, the entire figure of 8 route has been waymarked, an informative website created, a Cicerone guidebook has been published, and 2 successful walking festivals in 2019 and 2020 were organised.  The culmination of 2020’s voluntary work was the new Buzzard Sculpture, which was unveiled in September, at the official start and finish of the Way by Kingsland Bridge in Shrewsbury. The impressive, galvanised steel sculpture was designed by Jo Menhinick, made at Condover Forge, near Shrewsbury, before being mounted on to a piece of sandstone from Grinshill Quarry. The iron and sandstone were chosen to reflect the materials of the Kingsland Bridge.  In 2021 the SWA became  a registered charity. 

This successful project has been a real triumph of partnership working. It is hoped that many people will want to visit Shropshire to undertake the challenge of this 200-mile path, so contributing to the growth of tourism and Shropshire’s local economy.

The Trust relies solely on charitable donations, and on direct sales of the guidebook and the A2 map poster to fund the comprehensive website, leaflets and the way marks. Anyone wishing to donate can send an email to donations@shropshireway.org.uk

The image shows the Coalbrookdale Great Western Railway viaduct and Upper Furnace Pool. In addition the Shropshire Way crosses the River Severn several times and walks along the bank in places. It also uses stretches along the rivers  Corve,  Teme and Tern as well as the  Shropshire Union Canal and the disused Montgomery canal.

The Welcome Way – A story of collaboration and success

Four Walkers are Welcome communities of Otley,  Burley in Wharfedale,  Baildon  and Bingley in West Yorkshire, are celebrating the publication of the second edition of the best-selling guidebook for the popular Welcome Way long-distance trail. The name was chosen to reflect the four communities belonging to the nationally accredited ‘Walkers are Welcome’ scheme.

The 36-mile circular route, which took a year to plan, was devised in 2015 by a steering group of volunteers representing the four towns and villages. Their aim was to encourage more people to explore the many delights of the surrounding countryside and each community and, to support their local economies.

The 60-page guidebook includes maps and easy-to-follow instructions for each section of the route, which can be completed in a series of either short and easy or longer segments, or as a single 36-mile walk.  It is fully waymarked, taking walkers through urban paths, across moorland and woodland, through farmland rights of way, and along canal and river paths. The guidebook also includes information about each community along the way, transport links, points of historical interest, and many photographs.

The steering group has liaised regularly with Rights of Way teams from the three local authorities that encompass the Welcome Way to make regular, on-going improvements to the route. The steering group, and donations from sponsoring organisations have helped to fund new bridges, stile repairs and new kissing gates. Other major improvements to the route are also included in the new edition: by agreement with the landowner, a potentially dangerous railway level crossing has been replaced by a new right of way through a nearby cattle arch; and a long stretch of permanently waterlogged footpath in the little London area between Bingley Road and Baildon will now be avoided through the creation later this year of a safe off-road path following agreement reached with Bradford Highways.

To date, 1500 guidebooks have been sold nationwide and by visitors from abroad.  Very soon, the entire route will be marked by the Ordinance Survey, identifying the route as a named long-distance trail in all their electronic and printed maps of the area.  John Sparshatt, co-editor of the guidebook, says “We are delighted that this project has become such a popular route for people of all ages and walking abilities. The continued dedication and commitment of the steering group members, the collaboration with local authorities and support from sponsors has brought about the success of the Welcome Way, and we hope that this endeavour will make an important contribution to our local footpath infrastructure for many years to come.”

The Welcome Way guidebook can be purchased for £5.99 via the Welcome Way website.  The website includes the outline of the route, transport links, photographs, information on each of the Walkers are Welcome communities, food and drink establishments, and local outlets selling the guidebook.

Engagement with Nature and the Environment

Sense of place is often lost in the modern digital world and as a consequence tensions , social and mental disorders  regularly emerge as expressions of increasing strains not only in individuals but in the many shared relationships within society.  Sharing our “sense of place” through reading the landscape can assist in resetting our relationship to the natural environment   which can help transition living space into  a special place . 

Water of life  – cleanse and refresh us – .This old biblical phrase conveying renewal  resonates well with walkers  where there is an opportunity to rest awhile  near  flowing water containing the natural minerals essential to supporting  living cells. Indeed, many of us are drawn to the sound that waterfalls make and communicating – no beginning , no end , just being . Sometimes, we’re also drawn to the constant motion of the water itself. Regardless of what exactly it is, waterfalls seem to have that relaxing effect, and that’s what matters as far as our mental health is concerned.

The image is the majestic  High Force waterfall  near  the Walkers are Welcome town of  Middleton -in – Teesdale . This spectacular  waterfall , one of the most impressive  in England also reveals the historic nature  of  ancient rocks  with strata dating back  300 million years.

Feature Town – Bradford on Avon

Bradford on Avon is an extremely attractive town, sometimes referred to as a “Little Bath” and well-known for its limestone buildings, two medieval bridges, Tithe Barn and Saxon Church. It sits in the valley of the River Avon in a lovely corner of West Wiltshire, on the SE edge of the Cotswold AONB, and on the border with Somerset, just 9 miles from Bath itself.

The name of the town originated from the “Broad ford on the Avon”, this is the Bristol Avon that flows on through Bath and Bristol into the Bristol Channel at Avonmouth. Evidence of the ford can still be seen in the centre of town, alongside the Town Bridge.

Bradford on Avon became a Walkers are Welcome Town in 2011 and has since gone from strength to strength.  It was the first town in Wiltshire to gain Walkers are Welcome accreditation, made possible through the efforts of the West Wiltshire Ramblers.  A couple of years later Corsham, 6 miles up the road, also gained WAW accreditation and they have a good working relationship, including offering reciprocal walks at each other’s Walking Festivals.

Bradford on Avon WaW organises two guided walks each month, open to everyone and these are immensely popular. They also run a highly successful Annual Walking Festival over the first weekend every September. You can find out more about these on their website.

The area offers a huge variety of walking opportunities, along the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath and through the valleys of the rivers Avon and Frome. They have easy, level walks as well as more adventurous and strenuous ones in and out of the valleys with many great views. The MacMillan Way also passes through the town.

The Bradford on Avon Walking Wheel, a 42-mile network of waymarked routes connecting the local villages, has proved immensely popular, locally, nationally, and internationally, particularly so over the recent lockdowns.  Since its inception in 2016 around 1,500 Walking Wheel maps have been sold.

A favourite walk with local people is the Two Valleys circular walk, of which there are several versions, all around 6 or 7 miles in length. It takes in the canal towpath, Country Park, woods, field paths and country lanes with several historic buildings, pubs, and cafes en route. You can find a good version here.

The town has a proud industrial past, and, for a small town, it used to punch well above its weight over several centuries.  The wool industry accounts for many of the buildings – weavers’ cottages, large riverside mills, and clothiers’ grand houses.  Now disused, stone mines riddle the hillsides; they provided the main building material locally as well as much further afield.

In the 19th Century many of the mill buildings were used for other industries, mainly rubber when the Moulton family brought the rubber vulcanisation process to the UK from America. Then, in the 20th Century, Moulton Developments designed the rubber based, hydrolastic suspension system for the Mini car. Moulton is now more famous for the technologically advanced, small-wheeled bicycle which sells all over the world, particularly in Asia.

Today, one of the town’s largest employers is a high tech, internationally renowned engineering specialist in automotive test systems. There is also a plethora of small businesses in the IT, creative and tech industries.

Wotton Under Edge: An incredible event is over for another year

After a fallow year and a late move from May to June Wotton Under Edge put on its 4th walking festival.

They say  “This was one of the first events in town since the pandemic and we were all a bit nervous about the reception we would get. We worried unnecessarily! We had a wide range of walks, 23 in total. A lot of new walk leaders came forward.
We had a late evening 8 mile pub walk led by our local Round Table. Luckily everyone got home!
As an experiment we trialed a 17 mile epic taking in 4 big hills. Our walk leader thought it would be him and a few friends. 27 people signed up and we had to close bookings as we were close to the 30 maximum allowed.
In total around 250 people attended our walks.
We started at 4.30am on Friday for our Dawn Walk and finished at 11.30pm on Sunday with our Bat Walk, there would be a very tired little girl at school on Monday.
It was brilliant to see people enjoying themselves and the weather was simply superb.
Roll on 2022.”

Denby Dale New Train Walks

During “lockdown” Denby Dale Walkers are Welcome Group took the opportunity to devise 10 new walk trails, all linked to the Denby Dale railway station and a train ride. These new “train walks” can be downloaded at https://www.denbydale-walkersarewelcome.org.uk/walks-train which also features a map of the walks.

The Penistone Line Partnership (which promotes the local railway line) was impressed and has funded the production and siting of this map, not just at Denby Dale, but at all stations between Dodworth & Brockholes. (see photo.) The panels include a QR code from which passengers can download the trails. This project has also been featured in the PLP’s latest newsletter. This is a double hit: the scenic Penistone Line is a tourism asset itself, as well as giving access to the walks.

Company registered office in England & Wales No. 9582967 - Registered office:
26 Birkbeck Gardens, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4TH

© 2020 Walkers Are Welcome. All Rights Reserved