Networking can create results

Results of an earlier “Get Together” There is always a lot of enjoyable “networking” at the annual “Get Together”. This, together with the topics of the workshops and talks, inevitably leads to lively discussions while travelling home as to what is and what is not appropriate for our own town. A few years ago the comment was made “we don’t even have a footpath map in Wiveliscombe”! A few days later we attended a meeting to gather idea about how to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. As a result of Walkers Are Welcome we suggested a footpath noticeboard which was received very positively apart from the fact that it started to be referred to as a town map. It was therefore important that we joined the sub group to ensure we got the footpaths we wanted well illustrated. Together with the county archaeologist, town council chairman, walkers’ representatives and financial help from Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane and Wiveliscombe Town Council the attractive display board was erected in the Square late in Jubilee year. This noticeboard has received very favourable comments from locals and visitors as well as those who want to see the town plan and those who want to explore our footpaths. I wonder if it would be there if we had not got WAW status and also attended the “Get Together”? Wiveliscombe mapWiveliscombe map2

A very successful WAW Get Together in Chepstow

Delegates had a very entertaining weekend in Chepstow, starting with two very interesting walks. The first took us above the town with fine views of the castle, Severn Bridge and the Wye. The town walk was brought to life by a very interesting guide with lots of local knowledge. Many wished they could have been on both walks. After the official opening there was a choice of workshops, all very relevant to towns and villages in the network. The workshops were packed with information, we heard about fund raising and generating your own income, the efficient use of media and the awareness of the needs of disabled ramblers.   Chepstow Get Together

A summary of the workshops and links to the presentations will appear on the website as soon as everything is collated.

The Chepstow Male Voice Choir entertained diners to a repertoire of classic songs before the unveiling of the brilliant WAW embroidered banner. This will grow as the network expands.

WaW Quilt

Sunday began with the AGM and the usual election of officers, a summary of the accounts, a lively debate on future subscriptions (details to follow in the next newsletter), but for 2015 the subscriptions will increase by 10% to cover the costs of managing the network. The AGM was rounded off by our patron Kate Ashbrook  bringing us up to date on the threats to accessible land and the progress of the England Coast Path.  Discussions centred around annual returns, some members not fulfilling their obligation to promote WaW and whether we could improve the questions in the annual returns so we can glean better statistics. A task force has been formed and will report back before the end of the year. Going forward, the UK will be split into regions with a mentor for each to help and support towns and applications where we can.  If anyone would like to help with the role of mentoring please let the the Secretary know. A thought provoking session on developing ‘Best Practice’ and the need to plan an event in some detail and write it down will hopefully be the start of creating a quality standard manual for members to access in the future. We are all very grateful for the volunteers from Chepstow for arranging the well run event and extensive programme. The venue for 2015 will be Sidmouth in Devon and the picture below shows John Dyson from Sidmouth receiving the banner from Paul Gowan from Chepstow. Sidmouth banner handover

 If your town would like to be considered for hosting the event in 2016 please complete the application form.

Tregaron featured in the Guardian

The Guardian recently published a feature on the Top 10 hotels, B&Bs and hostels in Wales for walkers. Tregaron is recommended,  “Tregaron is a Walkers Are Welcome town and the inn’s owners are seasoned hikers, happy to suggest routes, pack picnics, recommend organised local walks, point guests in the direction of local guide, Dafydd or show you to the dedicated drying room. To see the full article visit: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/sep/25/top-10-hotels-b-and-bs-inns-in-wales-for-walkers  

Tourism inquiry by Culture, Media & Sport Committee

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has announced an inquiry into tourism. It is open for submissions until 29 September. In 2013, there were 32.8 million visits to the UK by people living abroad; 39% of these were as part of a holiday. In the same year, UK residents paid almost twice as many – 58.5 million – visits abroad. The committee say that there is a shared interest in promoting a thriving tourist industry throughout the United Kingdom. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/tourism/

WaW from Otley join broadcaster Claire Balding

Walkers are Welcome Otley chairman, Randal Metzger and fellow steering group member John Sparshatt were recently interviewed by Clare Balding. The interview will feature in the Radio 4 Ramblings series  in September or October – about walking the Dales Way from Ilkley to Windermere. Randal, also spoke of the influences on families to take up outdoor pursuits and the role of the Long Distance Walking Association, which John chairs, and the work of Walkers are Welcome Otley.” To read more visit: IlkleygazetteOtley BBC

Journalist keen for Dover to be a WAW town

A plea for Dover to join Deal in becoming a Walkers Are Welcome town was made at the White Cliffs Walking Festival. Organised by the White Cliffs Ramblers,  the opening ceremony held on Dover seafront was attended by our President, Kate Ashbrook. Deal became the first town in the South of England to get Walkers Are Welcome status, Councillor Brivio, a member of the White Cliffs Ramblers hopes that a working party can now be set up to get Walkers Are Welcome status for Dover. Dover

Well dressing

One of the well dressings for this year’s Bollington Well Dressing Festival features Walkers are Welcome. The picture which features the Walkers are Welcome logo was prepared by the 1st Bollington Cross Guides and can be seen until Sunday 13 July at Clarence Mill. The Bollington Well Dressing group said: ‘Bollington has been accredited as part of the ‘Walkers are Welcome’ UK network and we are very pleased to advertise the fact that this town is a wonderful place to walk around and an excellent centre for visiting the beautiful countryside surrounding it. The 1st Bollington Cross Guides have prepared this picture which is the logo of the Network’. Well dressing

Boots2Garden

Boots2Garden

Kirkby Stephen & District Walkers are Welcome Boots2Garden project this summer has all manner of boots planted up with flowers throughout the town. It’s turning into quite a trail and bringing a smile to walkers and shoppers alike. Why not drop in and have a look.Flowers

Winners of the Bollington Challenge

Bollington Walkers are Welcome White Nancy Challenge

This year as part of the Bollington Festival there was a particular challenge. For 16 days you had to have walked up the 900 feet local peak of White Nancy by 7.00a.m. The challenge was made by Walkers are Welcome Coordinator Sandra Edwards. ‘We wanted to put our new organisation on the map’ said Sandra.’ In the event over 150 people took part and there were 9 people who managed every day. Ken Edwards who completed the 16 days said’ It was a great challenge. In 16 days you get all kinds of weather, bitter cold, biting winds, mist and rain but the beginning and the end were fantastic sunny days and some people even got up at 4.30am to be there to see the sun rise! Winners of the Bollington Challenge

Picture above shows the winners of then challenge.

‘There was something magical in the air up here’, said Sarah and we have formed a White Nancy Breakfast Club to keep the tradition alive.’ Maybe an idea for some of the towns in the network.  

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