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Llandovery launch their WaW status with a Walk for Life

Walk_for_lifeLlandovery thought that it would be a fitting way to mark their newly-acquired WaW status by holding their very first community event in favour of the Kidney Wales Foundation. Indeed, it is one of the Charities which the Welsh RFU have chosen to support, and Leigh Halfpenny, the Wales full-back and Player of the Six Nations Tournament 2013, is the public face of their involvement.

Mrs. Dorothy Burgess, a Llandovery Town Councillor and herself a former nurse, looked after most of the administrative arrangements, while the Llandovery Walkers are Welcome planned the route, and organised the marshals. It was a very successful day and received very good coverage in the local press, namely the Carmarthen Journal and the Towy Valley Guardian. With sponsorship forms and contributions still coming in, we now await to find out how much was raised for the Kidney Wales Foundation.


Mytholmroyd Walkers are Welcome help encourage more women and children into the countryside



 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.

mwa1Our 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:


Rose Wheeler

MWA chair



Boot Tree featured on BBC

Tourism hope from boot-decorated tree in Kirkby Stephen

There are hopes an oddly decorated tree in Cumbria could play a part in boosting tourism. The small ash, at the side of the A685, near Kirkby Stephen, was spotted with a pair of boots dangling from its branches last year. More items of footwear have since been added, anonymously.

A local group, which aims to promote the market town as a destination for walkers, is hoping that it will encourage people to stretch their legs.

In 2009, Kirkby Stephen became the first town in Cumbria to be awarded Walkers are Welcome status. It also aims to encourage visitors to use public transport as much as possible.

Anne Sandell, from Kirkby Stephen Walkers are Welcome, said: “It was only a couple of pairs of boots to start with, and it’s really grown since then.

“People have started beeping as they come past in cars. “We’d like to promote walking tourism, so it’s quite an attraction, as it shows who we are.”

Courtesy BBC News CumbiaBoot decorated tree

Walkers are Welcome reaches 100!

From humble beginnings in 2007, Abergavenny has become the 100th Walkers are Welcome town and their Patron is none other than Kate Humble!

The Abergavenny WaW group is delighted that local television celebrity Kate Humble has agreed to be their patron. Kate said: “I’m delighted to be a patron for Abergavenny’s Walkers are Welcome. Abergavenny is a pretty market town, surrounded by spectacular countryside. The gateway to the Black Mountains, it is the perfect base for walkers who appreciate glorious, diverse scenery and want somewhere to come back to that offers great local food and lovely places to stay. Walkers really are genuinely welcome!”

Nigel Bottling, Chair of the National Executive, said “This was a first class application which clearly demonstrated not only how much the town offers to welcoming walkers, but the enthusiasm of those involved in wanting to improve what’s on offer.” 

Abergavenny’s Steering Group hopes to create an online resource for walking, developing packages with local businesses, creating a new range of simple walks from the town centre and working with the council to improve the local rights of way network. “To keep this prestigious award, the town has to show it is always looking to improve and there are many other initiatives planned,” said Ruth Coulthard, Chair of the Steering Group.

A large launch event is planned for Easter when it is hoped over 100 people will gather on Castle Meadows.

Abergavenny celebrating their WaW status

WaW invited to the launch of Britain on Foot

AOI logoThe Chair of WAW was privileged to be invited to the Houses of Parliament for the official launch of Britain on Foot, an initiative sponsored by the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA). Kate Ashbrook, our patron represented the Open Spaces Society.

Over 100 people attended the function, including members of parliament and the House of Lords who are interested in promoting outdoor activities especially walking throughout Great Britain attended the function.

Andrew Denton who is the Chief Executive of OIA addressed the meeting and he introduced Anna Soubry MP parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health who emphasised the benefits that walking brings not only to the individual but the local economy.

Kate and I met up again with Laura Sims of HF holidays (Laura attended the Church Stretton conference) and introduced to the chief executive of HF holidays Brian Smith. A meeting is to be arranged to see if HF Holidays can help Walkers are Welcome in some way. We hope to do this at the end of January and will advise of our progress in due course.

In addition we have had a subsequent meeting with Terry Stephenson of OIA. Terry has got some excellent ideas and would like to assist us in raising the profile of WaW.

We will keep you all posted on progress on this as well.

The campaign to get Britain on Foot will be launched in March so look out for their logo.

Nigel Botting