Rose Wheeler, Chair of Mytholmroyd Walkers’ Action, which is behind the town’s Walkers are Welcome status, explains their new innovative initiative to get more women and children into the countryside.
With growing numbers of Facebook friends and members, Mytholmroyd Walkers are Welcome are reaching more local people than ever before. Through Mytholmroyd Walking Action (MWA) one of the group’s main aims has always been to get more people walking. And it is doing just that, not just through Facebook pages and an active web-site, but also by getting together with Marmaladies – Mytholmroyd’s Women’s Institute (WI). Two evening walks in the summer attracted over 50 local women, many of whom are not regular walkers. And two summer picnic walks brought out the buggies so that toddlers as well as older children were able to enjoy some lovely local picnic spots.
One buggy walk to Wood Top included a visit to the Gnome House – and little ones enjoyed some gnome story-telling. The other buggy walk involved a challenging climb up to and beyond the nature reserve at Broadhead Clough. The climb was particularly strenuous for the eight Mum’s pushing buggies, but it was well worth it for the views!
At the same time as Marmaladies and children’s walks, MWA has continued to organise a number of successful walks around Mytholmroyd.
One of our most popular walks, led by Jill Liddington, took place on 28th September. This walk to Cragg Vale’s Brewery is included in Calderdale Council’s Wildside Walks programme. Walkers, as in previous trips to Little Valley Brewery, enjoyed a tasting session at the brewery after a delightful six-mile walk up Cragg Vale. And getting the bus back to Mytholmroyd made beer purchases feasible!
Other MWA walks for Wildside have been successful too. Themes have included local suffragettes (Jill Liddington) and the Cragg Vale Coiners (Julian Harber). We are already thinking about and planning a selection of walks for next year’s Wildside Walks programme. Suggestions welcome!
Our main projects have involved identifying a selection of enjoyable walks, making sure any necessary footpath improvements are carried out, and then compiling and publishing a well-designed leaflet to promote those walks. Our first leaflet, which still sells for 50p at Mytholmroyd outlets, set out three walks of different lengths: Churn Milk Joan, Wood Top and Scout Rock. These walks are all waymarked and have proved very popular. The three-walks leaflet can also be downloaded from our web-site.
Our second major project, walk@work, aimed to get people walking in their lunch hour. Six short walks were included and altogether 2,000 leaflets were distributed to local workplaces.
Both our first three walks, and the walk@work routes, can be seen around Mytholmroyd on large display boards. Two of the display boards are sited at the railway station to provide a link with public transport. These are a great reminder of the many lovely walks to be found around Mytholmroyd.
Our current project aims to get children walking, and also identify suitable walks for parents with buggies. A free leaflet setting out this new selection of walks will be given to every child in Mytholmroyd when it is completed next year. The leaflet is being designed by the author of the Making Tracks children’s walks leaflets, Jo Poyser, so that it is particularly appealing to children. The leaflets will include interesting wildlife facts and other information related to the walks.
Of course none of this would be possible without funding. Our own funds from leaflet sales and membership income are quite limited, but we have been successful in getting funding from Hebden Royd Town Council, the Community Foundation for Calderdale, Calderdale Council, and the Co-operative’s Community Fund. A number of local businesses have also provided some sponsorship.
For more information or to get involved in MWA, visit our web-site: