Showcasing Whitchurch on Test, North Hampshire’s Hidden Gem

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; the team at Whitchurch, Hampshire are hoping their fabulous new double-sided banners purchased with a Basingstoke & Deane borough grant will prove this correct.

Since achieving Walkers are Welcome accreditation in 2015, showcasing and promoting Whitchurch and North Hampshire to a wider audience has been an important part of the ongoing tourism development work (place shaping) being undertaken in the town. The borough Local Plan update currently underway, has presented the perfect opportunity to provide input to the Plan’s rural policies and develop a destination management plan for the town and with the recent publication of the Government’s Landscapes Review, our work locally has gained a new momentum.

Discover somewhere new in 2022…. Discover Whitchurch, Hampshire.

Commenting on the new publicity material, Jackie Browne, co-ordinator for the town’s Walkers are Welcome tourism accreditation said, “there’s more to Hampshire than the New Forest, the north of the county has so much to offer, not least walking without the crowds; these banners will help ‘sell’ that message at events within and outside the county and hopefully encourage more visitors to come and explore the fabulous North Wessex Downs and the valleys of the chalk streams”.

Wall Hanging in Winchcombe

Winchcombe walking festival borrowed the WAW National Wall Hanging to display at the hall where walkers meet to register for walks. It cheered up the hall, gave walkers something to admire while they waited for their walks to leave and it publicised all the other WaW towns around the country. The new stands made it so much easier to display and we received some wonderful comments about the standard of the needlework and the wide variety of ideas.

Sheila Talbot, Chair at Wincombe said:
“It’s a shame that not every WaW town is represented so I would encourage those who haven’t submitted a square to seriously think about it. If you don’t have the skills within your team, I’m sure there are other local groups such as the WI or a quilting group who would be only too pleased to help out. A huge thanks to Chepstow WaW for coming up with the idea and being custodians of it.”

Coleford Welcomes Walkers

The Coleford Welcome Walkers (CWW) Steering group has been busy over the last few months.

They say  “We have been working with our volunteers to re-vamp our website, which we are delighted to say is now live.

Local businesses have been incredibly supportive in advertising on our webpage highlighting what they have to offer, with more pledging their allegiance. A local business even sponsored our new Hi-Viz jackets so we are very visible now!

Some of our volunteers have the litter picking bug and have made a significant impact in reducing the amount of litter along our walking routes, posting their achievements on the “Forest Wombles” Face Book page as well as CWW’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. It’s a sad indictment of our society today that we need to do this exercise regularly and we are looking at ways to get a message out there to take litter home. What has been inspiring is the number of other people that have taken up the mantel and off their own accord started littler picking too.

CWW volunteers have been pounding the local Public Rights of Way (PRoW), having walked all 33; mind some are very short, logging all the many issues with the Gloucestershire County Council Highways PRoW officer, who has been amazing in his support. With this partnership two new kissing gates have already been installed, stiles repaired, vegetation cut back and “polite” reminders to land owners to re-instate the PRoW once ploughed sent.

We’ve just learnt that a significant grant has been secured by the PRoW officer via our County Councillors Build Back Better grant scheme for Coleford and neighbouring Staunton to improve our footpaths. We did do a little dance about this news!

CWW are looking at a plan of PRoW works over the coming months and will start in earnest come the end of September once the birds have finished nesting. In the meantime, improved signage with new way markers on the PRoW’s is being undertaken and CWW are working on producing some detailed walks to highlight the wonderful routes in and around our town, highlighting points of interest and the heritage, so watch this space.

CWW are teaming up with local walking groups and are looking at ways we can assist each other in promoting walking locally.

Finally, CWW made it’s voice heard with the Forest of Dean District Council who have been very supportive in listening to our comments on how CWW can make our town more welcoming, to this end the car parking bays in the main car park are being cleared of vegetation, the signposts cleaned and a review of our Public Conveniences undertaken under a wider current project within the district. CWW have highlighted a route into town that needs some TLC and we are hopeful to set up a project to do just that with the district council officers and local groups.

With the support of our County Councillor, CWW applied for a Build Back Better Grant itself and as we go to press, CWW can confirm this has been approved. It just goes to show that local authorities are willing to listen, support and action where required.

CWW were able to utilise the WaW banner in our town recently with local businesses putting up the bunting to highlight that Coleford really is a Walkers are Welcome Town!  “

Holmfirth Walkers Are Welcome enjoy a break atop Wolfstones

Holmfirth Walkers Are Welcome recently participated in a celebratory walk to Wolfstones. Following a public inquiry in August this popular walk to a beautiful local viewpoint was saved from diversion. The walk was one of Holmfirth’s  increasingly popular Sunday walks around their lovely valley.

Boroughbridge Easter Walking Festival 2022

Over 200 walkers took part in the Boroughbridge Walking Festival held over the four days of the Easter weekend.
People from as far afield as Leeds, Wetherby, York, Beverley and Thirsk joined walkers from the local community to enjoy fresh air, pleasant countryside and, this year, glorious weather!
The walks included outings in the Helperby, Whixley, and Great Ouseburn areas; a visit/guided walk around Staveley Nature Reserve; a short “Town Tour”; a Battlefield (Battle of Boroughbridge, 1322) walk; and two more challenging hikes, one to Myton-on-Swale via Kirby Hill (8.5 miles) and the Ripon Round (17 miles, completed by no less than 14 walkers!)
Organised by the Boroughbridge Area “Walkers are Welcome” group, part of the national WAW organisation, walks are sponsored by local businesses with the aim of encouraging visitors to the town and the enjoyment of its amenities, e.g. tea rooms and pubs
If you would like to help organise or participate in the leading of any walks; or generally help with next year’s Easter Walking Festival, please contact us. For further details, in addition to links to other walks in the area, visit

Bradford on Avon Walking Wheel extended

The ever popular Bradford on Avon Walking Wheel has been extended by three miles and new maps have been printed to reflect this.

The original concept of The Walking Wheel was to inter-connect the 8 villages of the BoA Community Area (a Wiltshire administrative device) that has Bradford on Avon as its hub.

Recently the village of Atworth, NE of BoA was added to the BoA Community Area, so BoA Walkers are Welcome thought it would be appropriate to include it on The Wheel. We achieved this back in January and it has already become a popular extension.

A further extension is planned for later this year, to the Inner Circuit, to include new developments on the Eastern side of the town.

 To find out more about the Walking Wheel, please chick this link:

Slow Ways Swarming in Wellington

Wellington Walkers are Welcome took part in the recent Slow Ways swarm weekend . They walked  and reviewed the route from Shrewsbury to Telford and suggested 3 new routes. One is the original with tweaks, the other 2 suggest alternatives for the problem stretch between Wellington and Telford Town Centre. They found it an interesting exercise which took them from Wellington to Telford in a way they would not otherwise have considered walking. Their favoured route can be seen at  this uses part of the Telford T50 50 mile trail and is rural in character.

New Kissing Gates in Wiveliscombe

Wiveliscombe now has 9 newly installed kissing gates on 2 very popular foot paths.
The Town Council, working in partnership with the Somerset Rights of Way Team, have replaced all the wooden stiles with metal stock proof kissing gates.
This will greatly improve access for all local walkers but particularly those who were finding the stiles difficult to manage.
The WaW steering group were aware that the stiles, some of which were very high and not always in the best state of repair, were a real problem for some walkers. We are very pleased to have been able to liaise with our Town and County Council to improve access to all the beautiful countryside surrounding Wiveliscombe.

Friday Legstretchers

Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome have been running their successful Dawdle Walks for many years. These are gentle walking for health type walk, no great hill climbs, and last about an hour with optional refreshments for a social chat after the walk.
Starting on 1st April is once a month Friday Legstretchers led by committee member Ester. These will last about two hours and include some height and will certainly be a step up from a dawdle.
The first legstretcher will be 5.25 miles and 500 ft. on John Struff Foundation land in Hartley.
The full programme of walks will be added to their website events

Going Places on Foot from Baildon

A new publication from Baildon Walkers are Welcome.
Children in the four Baildon Primary Schools have all been given a free copy of this new publication to take home to their families to encourage them to leave their cars at home and enjoy walking to local towns and villages.
Thanks to a grant from Shipley Area Committee’s Climate Action Fund, Baildon Walkers are Welcome have described and mapped walking routes to 11 neighbouring towns and villages including Ilkley, Guiseley, Idle, Shipley, and Bingley – as well as the villages in between. Each walking route includes a written description and map.
Bob Davidson, Chair of Baildon Walkers are Welcome said: “With the COP26 Conference, many of us are looking for practical ways to “do our bit” to address the Climate Emergency. Leaving our cars at home and walking for local journeys, not only saves on carbon emissions and air pollutants but provides a free, and fun, outing for adults and children – and sometimes, when the roads are congested, walking can be nearly as quick as going by car.”
Debbie Davies, Baildon Ward Councillor and Member of Shipley Area Committee said: “The ‘Going Places on Foot from Baildon’ book will be a great help to anyone wanting to find pleasant and easy ways to get to neighbouring towns and villages on foot. Shipley Area Committee is delighted to be able to support small scale practical projects like this which contribute to the health and wellbeing of local residents and to helping us to care for our environment.”
The photo shows Cllr Davies; Chris Flecknoe of Baildon Walkers are Welcome; along with Headteacher, Claire Thirkill, and pupils of Hoyle Court Primary School, with their copies of “Going Places”. The pupils shown are: Jessica Williams and Halle Malcome-Saidy from Birch Class and Victoria Proud, Samuel Burns and Muhammed Zain Tayyib from Yew Class.
Baildon has been a designated Walkers are Welcome town since 2013 and offers Guided Walks; publications; training in Map Reading and Walks Leading; and downloadable walks on their website.
For more information about Baildon Walkers are Welcome, including details of Guided Walks, and how to get a copy of the “Going Places on foot” book, go to or find us on Facebook.

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