The Langholm Moor Community Buyout

Langholm is one of 8 Walkers are Welcome Towns in Scotland.  They tell us  “Langholm  has a population of 2,300 and used to be a very prosperous Textile town with several mills plus it was the HQ of Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) and also the home the famous animal figurine company Border Fine Arts. In the 70s and early 80s, there would be over 1500 people employed in the town with many of them commuting from all over the area to the town. Over the next 20 years, all these industries started to decline and now the very last textile mill has closed as a result of the Coronavirus. The Edinburgh Woollen Mill has moved its HQ to Carlisle in England and Border Fine Arts is also closed.
In 2000, Langholm Walks Group was set up to try and encourage people to come to the area to walk. In the past, Langholm did not need tourists as there was full employment, but now we are doing our best to encourage people to visit. We have always been the poor relation of Dumfries and Galloway and the locals feel more like Borderers than from D & G. As the tourist industry in the area has always promoted the A75 corridor through Dumfries & Galloway, the east of Dumfriesshire was neglected and especially Langholm, so we developed an attitude of “nobody will do it for us so we will get on and do it ourselves”. This has proved very successful over the last 15 years with the development of Langholm Walks and also The Buccleuch Centre as a Theatre and Arts Centre plus many other projects. The tourists had started coming and things were looking good until the Coronavirus and now we are facing a bleak future. The one thing on the horizon that gives us hope is the development of The Langholm Moor and the possibility that we can purchase it for the community. A year ago, The Duke of Buccleuch announced that the 25,000 acre Langholm Moor was being put up for sale. This prompted a group of locals under the guidance of The Langholm Initiative to look at the possibility of purchasing it on behalf of the community. After a considerable amount of money was raised in a very short time a feasibility study was commissioned and talks opened with Buccleuch Estates. As a result of all this an agreed value was placed on the land of £6.4M and an application made to The Scottish Government’s Land Fund. It is hoped that this fund will contribute £3M to our fund which will leave £3.4M to be found by the community.

On 7th May 2020, a GoFundMe page was set up and the campaign to raise the £3.4M was started. We had an excellent start with £100,000 being pledged to the project by The John Muir Trust and in a few hours, £18K had been raised on the GoFundMe page. Of course, there is a long way to go and we have just until October to raise the money to complete the purchase depending of course on The Scottish Government support which is due hopefully in June ; early indications are that everybody in The Scottish Government  and also many of the organisations like SNH and RSPB are behind the project. If we are successful and buy the land then we would immediately have an Income as there are 9 properties including a working farm plus an area of Forestry so that income would sustain a Project Manager and team to implement all our plans for the future. It’s a huge project, but so important as The Langholm Moor is probably the best place in mainland UK to see the hen harrier. This year we have at least 4 pairs nesting on the Moor plus many other raptors such as merlin, and short eared owls.

To find out all the details of our plans for this exciting project please visit The Langholm Initiative website https://www.langholminitiative.org.uk and study our plans for the future of this wonderful Langholm Moor.
If you wish to give a donation to the fund to purchase The Langholm Moor then visit
https://www.gofundme.com/f/langholm-moor-buyout?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR2DIcFCPE_28ZDgBNQ08xCldEzenl5gMuU4UNBjy9JOZcUtlihiV28TOUs 

The  photograph  is of a hen harrier on The Langholm Moor by John Wright who has kindly donated it to the project.”

Whitchurch, Hampshire Celebrates – The Incinerator has been BINNED!

Whitchurch and the Upper Test Valley villages are CELEBRATING the news that US giant Wheelabrator has officially withdrawn their plans for a massive incinerator, larger than Battersea Power Station, that threatened to devastate the precious eco systems of the River Test and Dever chalk streams.

With spare capacity at each of the three smaller Hampshire incinerators, the plan was vehemently opposed by all local councils, MPs, countless businesses, environment bodies and the many thousands of residents and user groups.

Jackie Browne, coordinator for Whitchurch WaW commented, “why any company thought that this site alongside a world famous chalk stream, multiple SSSIs, protected commons, meadows and ancient natural woodland was a good business decision is beyond me, but right now I’m celebrating that the nearby countryside paths and Test Way long distance trail are no longer under threat and would like to thank the many volunteers that walked the walk delivering thousands of leaflets, put up boards, wrote letters, lobbied politicians, organised fundraising events and behind it all the ‘Keep Test Valley Beautiful’ campaign team for simply being magnificent”.

Boroughbridge try something new

As part of the Easter Walking Festival Boroughbridge is holding a new event which other groups may like to try.
“Talk the Walk “ is a storytelling event based on The Moth Project founded in America.
Participants talk without notes for approximate ten mins about a walk which was quite influential or affected their lives in any way.
With food and a bar available the Boroughbridge event will be held on Saturday evening 11th April in the Aldborough Institute from 7 pm tickets via eventbrite or Think Fink. See website boroughbridgewalks.org.uk for further details of this and other events during the festival

Boroughbridge say “Here we go again”

Plans are well in hand for the Boroughbridge Easter Walking Festival to be held this year from April 10th to 13th 2020.

This year Boroughbridge  are celebrating the 200 years the Bronte family have been connected with Yorkshire by following in the footsteps of Bramwell Bronte who was tutor for the Robinson family at Ouseburn hall.
With the  old favourites of the Ghost walk, Town Tour and Afternoon Tea walk not being forgotten they  have two new walks, the Soundmarks Trail , involving the downloading of podcasts to mobile devices, where Art, Archaeology and Sound come together to reveal the ancient landscape of Roman Aldborough and a visit to Whixley and Allerton Mauleverer the home of “the Grand Old Duke of York” of marching fame.

For the more adventurous the Striders group are leading two sixteen mile routes up and down the River Ure with a possible chance during the former to visit Ripon Cathedral. Further information will be available shortly at boroughbridgewalks.org.uk.

Walkers are Welcome in Boroughbridge: teaching adults to read maps

John from Boroughbridge says   “I’ve already raised the issue of maps and map reading in a previous news item. Basically, do walkers in general want to have a relationship with the local map to the extent of having one with them on a walk and actually consulting it occasionally; or do they simply play “follow my leader” and get on with the walk?
The answer to the question may then lead to a consideration of skills. If there’s the least bit of interest in owning, and using, the local 1:25 000 or 50 000 map, how do we set about teaching them the skills of map reading?  Well, having been encouraged by local WAW people and two who made contact, having read my piece on the WAW web site, I’ve made a start! I flagged up the possibility of free instruction in map/compass work and route finding on our FB page and wondered if there would be a response. Lo and behold, there was! Three people have, to date, expressed a strong interest; so it’s going to happen.
All I report at this stage (there should be much more to follow, once we’ve had our first session (mustn’t call it a lesson!)), is to record the ground rules or parameters, which are as follows:
• Maximum size of group: 3 (preferably 2)
• Each participant must have his/her own 1:25 000 map (I’ve recommended dash4it)
• A map case is strongly recommended
• The session will last not less than one hour and not more than two
• The number of sessions is a matter for me and the group to decide in the future
• KEY POINT – we start outside and get on with a walk, from the word “go”. There is no indoor “theory” session first! “So let’s find where we are on the map; fold it; set it (what was that, John?) and make a move before the weather turns….”

Bradford on Avon’s Walking Wheel maps landmark

The 1,000 landmark has been reached! By the end of 2019, 1,144 of Bradford on Avon’s Walking Wheel maps had been sold.

BoA Walkers are Welcome are amazed and delighted at the popularity of our Walking Wheel and are frequently re-stocking our 4 map outlets in the town.

The BoA Walking Wheel came into being in nearly four years ago and was launched at our 2016 Annual Walking Festival. It is well used by local people and we’ve heard of many who have visited the town in order to “walk The Wheel”. We even encountered an Australian couple who were staying in the town for several nights and they had come in order to experience The Wheel whilst in the UK visiting family.

The maps are produced for us by the brilliant Yellow Walk Maps company, based in Cornwall; they fold to a handy pocket size and are laminated so are very robust. At only £5 each they are very good value for money.

To find out more about The Walking Wheel please visit our website: http://walkbradfordonavon.org/boa-wheel-2/

A £2.6m boost for the Quantocks via the Heritage Lottery Fund

The Quantock Hills are a special place. Their designation in 1956 as England’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was not only for their particular qualities as a natural environment, but also for their remarkable story of human interaction with nature reaching back many thousands of years.

Stowey Walking is pleased to be  working with the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme on a variety of initiatives helping to enhance the Quantock Hills area for both local people and visitors over the next five years. Specific schemes that Stowey Walking will be involved in include both financial and practical assistance for the Quantock Hills Walking Festival. This years’ walking festival will be held on 27th and 28th June 2020 with an exciting variety of guided walks in and around the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme area, further details to be announced soon on our website.

The Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme (QLPS) has been awarded a £1.8m National Lottery grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. With match funding the award will allow the £2.6m, five-year scheme to begin delivery to enhance the landscape, natural environment and provide more opportunities for people to engage and enjoy the 200km2 scheme area.

The scheme, developed by the Quantock Hills AONB Service in partnership with South West Heritage Trust, Friends of Quantock and many others, aims to inspire the local communities to learn from the centuries of landscape development on the Quantock Hills and undertake a wide range of projects providing resilience and protection of the landscape into the future.

Bob Croft, Chair of the Quantocks Landscape Partnership and Head of the Historic Environment for the South West Heritage Trust said: “The partnership is delighted that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting this exciting new scheme. Working with a wide range of partners, the project will enable more people to discover and experience the natural beauty and rich heritage of this unique landscape. From research projects that explore local archaeology and heritage to nature walks and cultural events, we look forward to working with local communities to celebrate what makes the Quantock landscape special.”

Boroughbridge looks at the demise of Maps and Compass.

The Demise of Map/Compass?

Boroughbridge wonder if any WAW groups have offered courses or informal training in map reading. There seems to be a decline in interest in maps and navigation. Maybe it’s to do with following routes with the aid of leaflets or waymarks and compasses being superseded by GPS devices. All maps are fascinating; and there’s a great deal of satisfaction in being able to navigate with map and, occasionally, compass across unfamiliar territory. Boroughbridge would be interested to hear the comments of fellow walkers on this matter. Please contact John Helliwell (MLTB trained in 1982; lives in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire)
Walkers are Welcome, Boroughbridge      johnhelliwell604@gmail.com

Planning is going well for the WaW National Litter Pick

Many WaW towns and villages are participating in our first co-ordinated themed event  which will be a litter pick to be held between March 23rd and March 29th.  The event team is working  hard on planning and the first email to participating towns is going out shortly.
The results will be collated via this form. A more prominent link to this form will be provided nearer the event.
It is not too late to get involved, please email Baz at vice-chair@walkersarewelcome.org.uk for further details.

Loftus Walkers are Welcome Annual Geology Walk

During July , Loftus WaW organized and led the annual Geology walk with local Geologist Alan Simkins. The group walked along the shore from Skinningrove to Hummersea Point exploring the rock strata, erratics and remnants of the former Alum industry. Loftus Alum works was a major producer and exporter of Alum and Roman Cement from 1620 to 1840. Major uses of the product included – fixative for dyes and pigments in textiles , leather and paper preservative agent and as a blood coagulant. Also observed for the first time were specimens from two layers of fossilised Oyster beds which had fallen from the upper layers on the cliff near Hummersea. Walkers were quite excited to see this evidence from the Jurassic period of some 200 million years ago.

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