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.

Holmfirth’s first Walking Festival a big hit

Holmfirth’s first walking festival which took place from the 4th – 6th October was a big hit. Despite weather warnings, lots of people turned out to take advantage of the superb walks on offer and participate in some really interesting evening events. As luck would have it. the weather was kind and the heavy rain earlier in the week made the waterfalls and rivers magnificent. They had visitors from New Zealand, Australia, Latvia and Germany- perhaps next year they should call it the Holmfirth International Walking Festival!

Whitchurch, Hampshire Launches New Bus Walk

In autumn 2017, Whitchurch Walkers are Welcome volunteers, alarmed by the latest round of cuts to their local bus timetables, secured a Partnership Grant from Stagecoach South to produce the first two in a series of bus walks aimed to increase footfall; the walks have proved popular ever since.

Two years later,  the third leaflet in the series explores the rarely walked trails over the downs to the south west between Whitchurch and the early Saxon settlement of Bullington, just south of the A303. The 6.5 mile trail takes in the open vistas across the downs towards Danebury Rings Iron Age Hillfort and the beautiful Rivers Test and Dever; two of Hampshire’s finest chalk streams.

For those  interested in railway heritage, this mapped walk closely follows the route of the old dismantled railway line that once ran from Didcot-Newbury-Southampton. North of Whitchurch much of the old line is now lost under the A34, but to the south west the embankment is largely intact and includes a number of splendid Victorian brick railway arches along the way. At Bullington the path goes up and over the old railway embankment with clear views along the old track bed.

With the country’s rural bus services seemingly under constant review, well designed bus walks can appreciably add to the footfall; they say ‘use it or lose it’, so get out there this autumn, hop on a bus and enjoy the walk!

A pdf of the walk is available for free download at www.whitchurchwalks.net

Visitor from Chicago enjoys Walkers are Welcome Festivals

Wellington Walkers are Welcome were surprised, but delighted, to have a visitor from Chicago on several of the walks in the recent Wellington Walking Festival.  George told the group that he had also been to the Bradford on Avon Walking Festival the previous weekend and had another planned before returning to the States. The image shows George enjoying  the vineyard visit and bus walk.

Nether Stowey welcomes new initiatives for visitors:

Residents of Nether Stowey and members of Nether Stowey Parish Council gathered together on 29th August  in the centre of the village to celebrate the launch of two new amenities for Nether Stowey.

Stowey Walking and Stowey Green Spaces have worked together to create a new interpretation board for the village gaol giving information to visitors about great places to visit in and around the village and giving walkers in particular a warm welcome to the village and the Quantock Hills.

Lynne Abbott from Stowey Walking thanked Terence Sackett who designed the eye-catching interpretation board and Nigel and Janet Phillips for funding the project. Judith Grieg explained to everyone the aspirations of Stowey Green Spaces to turn the village goal into a small information point showing what the village has to offer to visitors.

The day also marked the launch of a new trail, the Castles and Coast Way linking Nether Stowey with the neighbouring village of Stogursey and on to the England Coast Path at Shurton. The new trail also links up with the Coleridge Way in Nether Stowey and a new sign-post on The Cross in the centre of the village will indicate the route for the Castles and Coast Way, the Coleridge Way and Coleridge Cottage where Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived.

Lynne Abbott thanked Somerset County Council Rights of Way Team for designing the new route and EDF Energy for their funding contribution and said she hoped that the new trail would attract more walkers to the area and encourage walking generally in and around the Quantocks.

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