New Baildon WaW Publication

Members of Baildon Walkers are Welcome Committee met with Town Council Chair, Joe Ashton, on 23 October, for a mini-launch of our new book: “FootNav: How to walk from here to there”. The event took place at Baildon’s Potted Meat Stick (the starting point for all the route descriptions in our new publication). Special thanks were offered to Baildon Town Council for the financial support that they give to Baildon Walkers are Welcome, as this allows us to continue offering guided walks free of charge; to Tony and Chris Grogan for the expert maps; and to Sara Mogford of Assembly Marketing for the design and publishing of the book.

If you ever thought you’d like to walk to one of our neighbouring towns and villages rather than get the car out, then this book is for you. It features walking routes from the centre of Baildon to 11 other local destinations, with written route-description and maps. Ideal as a Christmas stocking filler at only £5, contact Baildon WaW.

The Hidden Treasure of Unst

Unst is not a town or village but the most northerly inhabited island in Shetland and our most northern member. With just over 60 miles of coastline, there are some spectacular sea cliff bird sites at Hermaness National Nature Reserve as well as seven unspoilt beaches. If you are here in the summer months you can see puffins, gannets, kittiwakes, skuas and many others. There is also a rich sea life around the coast, with otters and seals, and the occasional pod of orca and dolphin. There are good views of Shetland from several hills on the island although most coastal walks are at sea level until you get to the north of the island, looking out to the Muckle Flugga lighthouse, now unmanned. Robert Louis Stevenson’s father and uncle designed the lighthouse and many people think he gained several ideas for “Treasure Island” from his stay on Unst. Unst is also noted for the number of Viking sites on the island, with over 40 recorded and three that have been recently excavated and open o the public.

The island has 600 of a population with three shops, three cafes, three community halls, a Leisure Centre with fitness suite and swimming pool, a Heritage Centre, Boat Museum, Gin Distillery, a Hotel, two Hostels, Health Centre, Care Centre and school for pupils aged 3-16. There is an informative website about tourism attractions on the website. Public transport on the island is limited but the island is only fifteen miles long and three miles wide. There are a couple of taxi firms and many local people will happily give you a lift if you are on their route.

Getting to Unst takes time. It is 14 hours by overnight ferry from Aberdeen or an hour’s flight from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen. And that just gets you to the Shetland “Mainland”. Unst is still a further three hours’ drive or bus journey after that, involving two small ro-ro ferry trips of 20 minutes and 10 minutes. But it is well worth it when you arrive!

Hopefully, 2021 will bring opportunities to visit this beautiful island, please add to your wish list.
You can find more about walking the island on the Unst Walkers are Welcome website.
WaW A-Z listings UNST

Unsuccessful River Crossing for Tregaron

Walkers are Welcome in Tregaron say “It was good to meet up with friends from our walking club again last Saturday and a very pleasant walk was enjoyed by all. It was probably most memorable for the unique method (ultimately unsuccessful) of river crossing demonstrated by Avarinah, before we found the elusive bridge over the Afon Berwyn! Thank you Ian for organising and leading.”

Tregaron’s  next walk is scheduled for 14th November, meeting at the village hall car park in Pontrhydfendigaid at 10 am. This of course depends on the Covid 19 restrictions appertaining at the time, after the imminent lockdown period.  Please check the contacts here for details.

Good luck to everyone in Wales during your Fire-break Lockdown.

Alton’s successful autumn walking festival

After the disappointment of cancelling their May walking festival, Alton were delighted to be able to host a mini 7-day festival last week. Their Town Council handled the timetabling, publicity and bookings, and volunteer walk leaders supported a programme of daily walks of varying length from 3 to 17 miles.

Because the festival had the official backing of the Council they were able to have larger groups of walkers than their current limit of 6, but they capped the bookings at 15 per walk.
Most of the participants were local, but they had one visitor from a neighbouring Walkers are Welcome town (Whitchurch, Hampshire), as well as others from Portsmouth and Fleet. Everyone appreciated the chance to get outside for a walk with old friends and new faces, and to explore the countryside with the best that the Hampshire autumn had to offer.

Baildon Walkers are Welcome “Sixer Walkers”

Since July, Baildon Walkers are Welcome has been offering several guided walks per month for a maximum number of 6 people. These have proved increasingly popular for people who are on their own and don’t feel comfortable walking alone and for people who do not know the footpaths around Baildon very well. A monthly e-news has been sent out at the end of each month to all those on their contacts list, with details of the guided walks on offer for the coming month. Booking is required, and when people book they are asked for the details of someone that should be contacted in the event of an emergency and to advise, in confidence, if they have any health issues which the walks’ leaders should be aware of.

The four guided “Sixer” walks in October are all fully booked. Most of the walks on offer are half a day, and between 4 and 6 miles, sometimes with an outdoor café stop in the middle. However, we have also found a demand for occasional longer walks, when packed lunches are needed.

The October walk titles have been: “A Meander on the Moor with a Café stop”; “Burley Moor Explorer” (9 miles); “Autumn Woodland Walk”; and “The Walking the Walls of Baildon”. It has been particularly pleasing to find that word about these “Sixer Guided Walks” has been spreading via Facebook and that we are able to welcome people from neighbouring towns and villages.

Chris Flecknoe, Baildon Walkers are Welcome
The photo shows some “Sixers” on a topical wood.

Walkers are Welcome Loftus – Fungi Foray 2020

Eighteen walkers set off from Loftus Town Hall on Thursday 15th October under a persistent drizzle to join the North East Fungi Recorder to carry out an examination of fungi species present in woodland known as “The  Warren” , a historic plantation dating  back at least  200 years. Over a 3 hour period the group identified over 20 species including Velvet Shank, Bloody Brittlegill , Russula Emetica , Aniseed Funnel, Birch Knight , Amethyst Deceiver and grey spotted Amanita.  Loftus say “These decomposers are fascinating organisms , many displaying exceptional colours and providing clues of tree species occupying the land through centuries. We compiled our list of species to add to the record.”

Dark skies in Upper Eden

WaW member, Kirkby Stephen, has been promoting their local dark skies experience for a number of years, including helping with children’s evening walks and creating an open space at Jubilee Park to the southern end of the town. This year they have produced a booklet giving information about where to view skies locally, what to look for and some easy night-time adventure walks for all the family. These are now available at the Upper Eden Visitor Centre and local outlets in time for the North Pennines AONB Stargazing Week 2020 at the end of the month and in time for the children’s half-term holidays.

Successful Walking Weekend for Llandysul & Pont-Tyweli

Llandysul & Pont-Tyweli say  “Our walking weekend, which we held on the 26th and 27th of September, was a lot smaller this year as we decided only to hold 4 walks and of course we were not allowed to have our usual Saturday evening entertainment or our Sunday afternoon tea.
As we are in Wales, we are allowed to walk in groups of up to 30, and all places had to be booked and contact details recorded and kept for 21 days. We were really pleased with the turnout over the weekend, there were just over 60 walkers, many of whom had not walked with us before. We also enjoyed wonderful sunny weather.
The walk leaders did sterling work to do their usual risk assessments, as well as a Covid risk assessment. Plus we are grateful to the footpath rangers from both Ceredigion County Council and Carmarthenshire County Council for clearing a couple of sections of paths, and even fixing style prior to the weekend.
We are looking forward to organising a bigger walking weekend next year.”

Elham Group Grab Plinth Publicity

The Folkestone Creative Quarter group has installed a number of plinths in town for community use so Elham Valley Walkers created this exquisite artwork which was briefly displayed today (30 Sept). Never miss an opportunity to spread the words “Walkers are Welcome”. Banksy would be proud.

Wiveliscombe Walkers Complete New Long Distance Path

Over the last year WaW members in Wiveliscombe have been busy developing a new long distance circular walk linking the 8 churches in the Benefice.
They named the walk The Brendon Towers Way in recognition of the distinctive towers that are a feature of the churches nestled amongst the Brendon hills surrounding Wiveliscombe.
Once the the route had been checked and re-checked, way marked in both directions and a leaflet with directions, map and a brief history of each church completed, it was time for the launch. This was planned for 23rd May and was to be led by the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Obviously, due to the Covid crisis, this couldn’t happen but an alternative inaugural walk was planned once restrictions were eased.
So, at 10.30am on Saturday 20th June, 38 local walkers set off in small groups of 4 or 5 from each of the 8 churches. The plan was for each small group to walk to the next church on the route and then back again. Half of each group walked in a clockwise direction , the other half walked anti-clockwise. Every church was visited and the walkers had a very jolly time passing friends along the way who were walking in the opposite direction. Everyone remembered social distancing and picnic lunches were enjoyed in the peaceful churchyards or surrounding countryside. Some walkers, feeling energetic, walked on, visiting more churches along the route. One walker complete the whole 20 mile route, visiting all 8 churches in 8 hours.
Over the last few months the new route has proved very popular and has received some great feedback. More walkers have completed the whole route in one day including Ella and Susie, both aged 11 years old. A wonderful achievement!
Brendon Towers Way leaflets are available for £1 in Wiveliscombe Post Office, Community Office and local churches.

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