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.

Busy Summer for Boroughbridge.

After the very successful Easter Walking Festival when over 300 walkers took part, The Boroughbridge Striders long  distance walking group was launched.
In July Boroughbridge joined with the local Historical Society to present a display at the The Boroughbridge Secret Gardens Day. Here they were able to survey the local community to find out if a regular Saturday walk of 6/8 miles would be of interest.
August saw the launch of the Aldborough Artarch soundmarks trail of the exploration and Archeology of the Roman Town of Aldborough two miles from Boroughbridge. Created by Archaeologist and artist Rose Ferraby and Rob St John a sound specialist. It explores the Roman Excavations which have taken place over the last few years via downloadable artwork, commentary and recorded sounds of the workings from the deep underground drilling cores taken to the sounds of the rain falling on Himalayan Balsam when stopping at certain points along the trail.

For further information, visit  Boroughbridgewalks.org.uk

Whitchurch, Hampshire Fixes it for Jon and Donna from Yorkshire.

Jackie Browne, coordinator for Walkers are Welcome Whitchurch, Hampshire provides the background story that led to Whitchurch Walkers are Welcome ‘fixing it’ for Jon and Donna from Yorkshire……

“It was 2016, just a few months after Whitchurch achieved accreditation. We had just set up our footpath maintenance group and were taking stock and considering what our next steps should be, when a chance encounter with a couple from Yorkshire, attempting to find a parking space in Whitchurch, started me wondering what if and would it be possible? Well three years on and we proved we could!

Jon and Donna had been in North Hampshire on a personal odyssey to visit all the story locations featured in Richard Adam’s famous book Watership Down, but what they hadn’t realised at the time was that a number of these locations were on private land, with no PROW access. Since that chance encounter Jon has been closely following our progress and ‘banging the drum’ for Whitchurch and North Hampshire and so last Friday, after two years of planning and negotiating with landowners we were delighted to welcome Jon and Donna back to Whitchurch to join our special walk, ‘In Search of Hazel & Bigwig’ and visit some of the locations they missed in 2016, including a rarely available route through the Laverstoke Park Estate to the river and bridge locations noted within Richard Adams’ (late of Whitchurch) famous book.

46 walkers from Whitchurch and Overton braved the wet weather to take advantage of this rare opportunity, with some aficionados of the book commenting that they were amazed that given the hot spell recently we had even managed to organise the weather to fit with the narrative!

Jon writes, “We would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making today’s walk possible, we really appreciate the efforts of Jackie, Ian, and others in making this happen. Donna and I had a wonderful day, despite the weather and it did give us a taste of what the Watership Down rabbits had to deal with in their escape from Woundwort and his officers! Thank you too to the walking group’s members, all of whom made us feel very welcome.

We shall continue to follow your work from afar, and look forward to our return to Watership Down and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it. You are all very lucky to live in this wonderful landscape that is so tied to the works of Richard Adams. I feel sure that given your success with this event, we shall one day be hearing from Jackie again saying she has another adventure in the making”.

Access for All

Chesham Walkers are Welcome successfully applied for a grant from Chiltern District Council to install a couple of RADAR gates in a local wood. The project was run as a partnership between Chesham Walkers are Welcome, the Disabled Ramblers and the Royal Forestry Society (the owners of Hockeridge Wood). The gates were installed under a scheme called ‘Donate a Gate’ run by The Chiltern Society and Bucks County Council. Andrew Clark, from Chesham Walkers are Welcome said: “I’m really delighted that this project has been completed as it will provide a true woodland adventure. Hockeridge Wood is a lovely place that should be appreciated by all.” RFS Chief Executive Simon Lloyd says: “Woodland is increasingly recognised not just for the timber it can produce and the biodiversity it supports but for the health and wellness benefits it provides to all who spend time in them. Hockeridge and Pancake woods have always been well used by local people and we are delighted they are now more accessible to even more people.”

Holmfirth Business Links

New kids on the block Holmfirth Walkers are Welcome have been forging links with local business. Our bookshop ‘ Read’ have created a series of events to link up with their activities. On September 1st their regular Sunday family walk leaves Holmfirth Tourist Office at 10 am for an interesting historical ramble around town finishing in good time for refreshments in the library followed by a talk and book signing by Christopher Goddard author of a series of beautifully illustrated walking books on Yorkshire at 1.30. All are welcome to this free event. More events to follow. Watch this space and the events page.

Loftus show walkers improved views on the Cleveland Way

Walkers are Welcome Loftus, supporting the local authority, led a number of walks during the June 2019 summer walking festival . There was a strong appreciation of the splendid views on the approach to the village of Staithes from this recently created coastal path section along the Cleveland Way.

The Quantock Hills Walking Festival

Stowey Walking would like to thank everyone who helped make the Quantock Walking Festival a great success last weekend, 22nd & 23rd June.  Six guided walks were held in and around the Quantocks and on the coast. Numbers were well up on last year with a total of 85 walkers over the two days. Whilst the majority of walkers, 70% ,came from Somerset, 28% came from elsewhere in the UK and there was had one couple from Australia who were holidaying in Devon. Several of those from out of county stayed in local B&Bs over the weekend, therefore making a positive contribution to the local economy. Walkers were then offered tea and home-made cake at the Nether Stowey Church Centre after their walk. Contributions raised from the weekend will help over the coming year with ongoing costs and new projects, helping to improve facilities for walkers in and around the Quantock Hills as part of the nationwide Walkers are Welcome initiative. Particular thanks go to the walk leaders, backmarkers and the kitchen crew for giving up their weekend and making everything go smoothly for the walkers. Now in its fourth year, The Quantock Hills Walking Festival is now becoming a regular event in the Somerset summer calendar.

New Circular Walk- Ditch the Map, just follow the Signs

There are many circular walks around the country and they often have some way-markers to help you. However, to feel confident, you often need a map and some directions to follow. Well now there is a FULLY Way-marked Circular Walk that can be confidently walked, without the need for a map or directions. It is situated in the village of East Cowick in the heart of The Vale of Snaith. The are 17 two-way signs, which means you can go clockwise or anti-clockwise. EAST COWICK CIRCULAR WALK 4 MILES ALLOW 2 HOURS. It is a mixture of country lanes, tracks, riverbank and a woodland section with a short spur that connects to Snaith Ponds, a haven for wildlife.

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