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A new river walk in Horncastle

Horncastle Walkers are Welcome in conjunction with the Countryside Access Team at Lincolnshire County Council has developed a new river walk in Horncastle.

A previous walk in this area had been no longer accessible due to changes in land access. Working with local landowners and the Woodland Trust the new 2.5 mile walk has been produced.  The walk heads south from Horncastle through a developing woodland, along the banks of a river and canal before joining part of an old railway line (now the Spa Trail, a multi user trail between Horncastle and Woodhall Spa).

Horncastle WAW are also working with neighbouring land owners to site a bridge from Banovallum Carr over the Old River Bain to allow access to the walk from housing to the south of the town.

A copy of the walk can be downloaded from the WAW page at www.horncastletowncouncil.co.uk/walkers-are-welcome.html

Horncastle Walk

WaW featured ‘Down under’

 

An Australian Walking magazine; Great Walks has produced an article about the Walkers are Welcome Scheme. This came to their writers attention courtesy of the publicity team for the Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival when they gained Walkers are Welcome status last year.

Ironbridge has done very well putting walking in Shropshire and the whole Walkers are Welcome concept and organisation onto an international footing. This follows closely behind WaW signing an agreement with the Japanese Footpath Society in February.

To download the article please click here.

Sign of the Times - Great Walks - Feb-Mar 2015.jpg

Vote with your feet

Now is a very good time to write to your local MP reminding them of the importance of walking for one’s health, the positive effect on the local economy and to ensure the protection of public open spaces. We have a draft letter available to download which we hope you will send to your local candidates.

Austerity measures have already impacted on Rights of Ways Departments and not all work can be done by volunteers. Country Walking has posed questions to MPs from all the main political parties. Visit www.lfto.com/election to read the responses from all the main parties.

Natural England has published a report Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment and will use the results to develop its work on improving opportunities for people to enjoy open air recreation and engage with the natural environment. Results from the domestic and international tourism surveys it may be estimated that around £10 billion is spent during holidays taken to England involving outdoor pursuits.

The next Government need to protect our natural assets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liskeard’s new walks to attract visitors

A series of new walks has been launched in and around Liskeard in Cornwall. The intrepid journalist from The Cornish Times joined walkers to explore the new routes. Another example of raising your town’s profile and well done Liskeard.Liskeard news

Spreading the word.

Walkers are Welcome was represented at the East Devon Rural and Business Fair recently by Ann Scotter from Wilveliscombe and John Dyson from Sidmouth. The day went very well according to Ann with them promoting “Walkers are Welcome” and using Wiveliscombe as an example of the advantages gained by becoming a member. 

John was talking about Sidmouth and the fact that the “Get Together” this year is in the West Country for the first time and how it would help tourism in the area if more towns became WAW status.  It was a good opportunity to approach bodies including the National Farmers Union about working with farmers re maintaining footpaths. Also bodies such as The Conservation Trust and Devon Council found out more about WAW and the benefits being a member can bring.

WAW SW
Ann and John attending the WAW stand to promote the network.

Meltham path clearing

Meltham Walkers are Welcome carried out the first of their path clearing works for 2015 at Colders Lane, Meltham this week.  The group identifies local paths in Meltham that require clipping, pruning or tidying then allocate a day to carry this out.

Nine volunteers brought tools, gloves and bags and worked up the well used footpath clearing debris and litter as well as clipping back brambles and overhanging branches.

Wendy Sykes, Meltham Walkers are Welcome Secretary said.  We are a small group who organise monthly free guided walks around Meltham.   On these walks we identify certain paths that are in need of clearing and create a working party to carry this out.  This is the first one for 2015 and we will be working on others during the year.  Colders Lane Group

Texting emergency services in bad mobile areas

Did you know that walkers who visit areas with bad mobile phone access can now register with a new service that allows 999 calls to be made via a text message.

To use the service visit www.emergencysms.org.uk and register.

Then in an emergency Text 999 with Who you need, What the problem is, Where you are (giving as much information as possible a grid ref is very helpful).

For more information on emergency SMS and the best & most helpful way to ask for help you can download this PDF Emergency_SMS

999

Official launch of Bingley Walkers are Welcome

The official launch of Bingley Walkers are Welcome will take place at 10am on Saturday April 11 at Bingley Arts Centre with a special event and a variety of walks for all ages and abilities.

Bingley is preparing to celebrate its new status as an official “Walkers are Welcome” town after successfully bidding to achieve the accolade.

Bingley now joins Ilkley, Baildon and Burley in Wharfedale as part of a national network of communities endorsed for their amenities, opportunities and hospitality for walkers and which can promote themselves under the Walkers are Welcome brand.

For more information, contact Christine McCabe, christine.mccabe@intamail.com 07791 766883 or Ros Dawson 07720 882512

WaW concept travels to Japan

On Friday 6 February 2015 a historic agreement was signed between Walkers are Welcome UK and the Footpath Association of Japan, who will now start its own WaW Network.

This is a milestone for the Walkers are Welcome Towns’ Network UK, which began in 2007 in Hebden Bridge and has mushroomed.

In May 2013 Sheila Talbot, Chair of Winchcombe Walkers are Welcome, was invited to tour Japan to lecture about the benefits walkers can bring to rural communities. The Japanese were very interested in the concept of Walkers are Welcome and now starting their own Network, the first foreign country to do so.

WaWsigning

Mr Kosei Hamada and Mrs Ruriko Izawa brought the Friendship Agreement from Japan, which had already been signed by Joichi Ishizaka, President of the Footpath Association of Japan. Sheila Talbot signed on behalf of Walkers are Welcome UK, in her capacity as Overseas Ambassador for Walkers are Welcome. Also present at the signing was Kate Ashbrook, Patron of Walkers are Welcome, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society and Ramblers President.  For further details visit the National New section.

Yorkshire: A Place Where Walkers Are Welcome

WAW has come across a blog by Cedric Farineau, a Frenchman in Yorkshire who’s been living here for a while now and really loves it. Cedric passion for the Great Outdoors is completely fulfilled in Yorkshire. Read his blog.

Cedric FarineauCedric

Yorkshire is a great place to walk but did you know that it also boasts the biggest number of “Walkers are Welcome” towns and villages in the UK? There are now 23 towns and villages in Yorkshire accredited to the scheme and the latest ones to have joined the scheme are:

  • Baildon (December 2013)
  • Burley in Wharfedale (March 2014)
  • Bingley (January 2015)

With Ilkley and even Otley also members, this corner of West-Yorkshire is really becoming a place to be for walkers!

I am actually really proud that Bingley has got the official status now. It’s been my adoptive home town for the last seven years and I’ve been on many beautiful walks in the area. I’ve published some in this blog if you are interested.

About the Scheme

To come back to Walkers are Welcome, the initiative started in 2007 in Hebden Bridge, a small town in the South Pennines and in the heart of Calderdale, West-Yorkshire. At the time a small team of people from an existing group called “Hebden Bridge Walkers Action” led the way to something that now includes a network of over a hundred towns and villages throughout the UK. There is an archived page on Hebden Bridge Walkers Action website detailing the launch day of the initiative. What’s really interesting is that they came up with a sshort-list of criteria and to this day towns and villages wanting to become members of this network, have to meet the following six criteria:

  • Demonstration of popular local support for the concept.
  • Formal endorsement of application for WALKERS ARE WELCOME status by local council
  • Action to ensure that rights of way are maintained in good condition
  • Adequate marketing of WALKERS ARE WELCOME status
  • Encouragement of walking using public transport
  • Demonstration of mechanisms in place to maintain WALKERS ARE WELCOME status
  • This shows the scheme is a strong community-led initiative and as explained in the official website:

Gaining the status is dependent on the Executive Committee being convinced that any application is a ‘bottom-up’ initiative from within the local community. This is to ensure that there will be on-going continuity of support for the project.

Why is it so popular in Yorkshire?

As mentioned previously, today there are 23 towns and villages in Yorkshire sporting the Walkers are Welcome status, that’s almost a quarter of all the network. Why is the scheme so popular in Yorkshire then? I might have my own explanation for this:

A sense of community: since I arrived in Yorkshire (and the North in general), I’ve seen how local people have this feeling of belonging to a place and wanting to care for it. It’s probably because people love the place they live in and are proud of it.

A fantastic landscape: Yorkshire has a really diverse landscape. From flat terrains to gentle hills and even peaks battered by strong winds,. All of this makes this county heaven for walkers

A reasonable public transport system: although not perfect, the public transport system in Yorkshire gives access to most of the remote places in the county. Being by train or bus, you should be able to go wherever you want, even for that walk in the middle of nowhere.

Thriving local businesses: this has probably more to do with the “chocolate box village” effect but I find that many small towns and villages in Yorkshire are really attractive thanks to their local businesses. Being a shop, a pub or a restaurant, there are some real local gems out there. This is really important in times when city centres become filled with the exact same replica shops everywhere and have lost their diversity.

So “Vive Walkers are Welcome” and I hope Yorkshire will get its 24th member very soon!

Facts updated for Jan 2015