Saturday, 16 November 2013

Walkers are welcome... or not

Sidmouth Town Council has long supported the national 'Walkers are Welcome' network:

Walkers are Welcome UK Network is a nationwide initiative launched in 2007 to encourage towns and villages to be ‘welcoming to walkers’. The network has expanded rapidly and there are now over 100 locations across the UK that have joined this innovative community-led scheme to benefit from Walkers are Welcome accreditation.

Our aims are to encourage and support towns and villages to

  • be attractive destinations for walkers with top quality information on local walks
  • offer local people and visitors excellent walking opportunities within their areas
  • ensure that footpaths and facilities for walkers are maintained, improved and well signposted
  • contribute to local tourism plans and regeneration strategies
  • promote the health benefits of walking and increase participation
  • encourage the use of public transport

Benefits of this website

You can benefit from this website by obtaining up-to-date information on member towns and villages that are keen to welcome you. You can learn more about the scheme itself and its benefits, obtain latest news and developments, learn how to join us if you are not already a member, and, once you have joined, gain access to exclusive additional information.


Julia BradburyJulia Bradbury, broadcaster and walking enthusiast, expressed her support by saying
“The Walkers Are Welcome Scheme is a truly innovative project. It’s 
such a simple concept: set up an accreditation scheme for walk-friendly towns, then encourage the towns to network together for support, advice 
and ideas. That simplicity has led to jaw dropping success…”
Kate Ashbrook, patron of Walkers Are Welcome and president of the Ramblers, says:
Kate Ashbrook“Walkers Are Welcome has grown at an astonishing pace as more and more towns and villages have seen the benefits of accreditation and have come on board. Now walkers know that, if they see the friendly footprint logo, they are assured of a warm welcome throughout the town, and a good path network and  waymarked walks round about. So everyone benefits – visitors, residents and the local economy.”

Walkers are Welcome | Towns and Villages with something special to offer walkers

Last year, Sidmouth was listed as 'welcome for walkers':

Sidmouth ‘first’ to land footpath status

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 

Plaudit joy: Councillor John Dyson hands Walkers are Welcome certificate to town council chairman Stuart Hughes at the Parish Paths Partnership's annual event on Tuesday night. District council senior engineer Keith Steel, who spoke on Sidmouth shoreline management, is also pictured. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4109-08-12AW

SIDMOUTH has become the first place in East Devon to land Walkers are Welcome status.
The town is only the fourth location in the whole of Devon to be listed on the website – and it is hoped the news will boost visitor numbers.
Town councillor John Dyson said the validation shows Sidmouth looks after its 58 miles of footpaths and bridleways. Councillor Dyson, also chairman of the Parish Paths Partnership, told the Herald: “It’s another way of showing we’re not just sea and beach. We really do have some wonderful countryside around, and we do look after our footpaths. I hope this will be able to draw more visitors in. The town will benefit from it. This was a no brainer – I can only see positives.”
Walkers are Welcome is a community-led scheme that demonstrates town and villages’ commitment to making tourists’ visit an enjoyable one.
Membership of the initiative is £50 a year and Sidmouth Town Council will foot the fee in the future.
Cllr Dyson said the bid had the backing of the town’s chamber of commerce and hospitality association. In fact, both were so keen for Sidmouth to net the status they paid the first year’s membership fee between them. Mr Dyson hopes shops and hotels will display stickers in their windows advertising the recognition. 
He added Sidmouth was the second busiest tourist destination on the South West Coastal Footpath and said a ‘walking week’ or ‘walking festival’ were future possibilities. “Walking is a year-round activity here,” said Mr Dyson, who is also a member of the town council’s tourism committee and the Hopper Bus co-ordinator. You can quite easily take a bus eight or 10 miles from here to places like Branscombe, Budliegh or Ottery, and walk back – and you can’t do that everywhere. The combination of bus and walking is very popular.”
The Walkers are Welcome website will link to Sidmouth’s own tourism pages.
Sidmouth ‘first’ to land footpath status - News - Sidmouth Herald
Sidmouth to bag Walkers are Welcome status - News - Sidmouth Herald

At its meeting last month, the Town Council discussed using the Parishes Together Fund
to finance a week-long Walking Festival next September - an event provisionally organised by the Parish Paths Partnership, itself a grouping of several interested parties: 
Sid Vale Association - Rural Footpaths
Southwest Coast Path - Visit Sidmouth

However, in view of the proposals reported in the blog entry
Futures Forum: Councils to be given powers to ban peaceful protests that might disturb local residents
there are fears that such 'powers' could make walkers unwelcome...

Ramblers 'could face walking ban' under controversial               government plans

Campaigners fear ramblers could be stopped from walking on public land as part of new powers being given to councils

Rambler, hiker, woman walking on cliffside path
Campaigners have warned that ramblers could be banned from walking on public land under controversial new powers being granted to councils Photo: ALAMY

15 Nov 2013

Ramblers could be banned from walking on public land under controversial new powers being granted to councils, campaigners have warned.
New public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) are intended to give councils the authority to tackle anti-social behaviour including drinking, aggressive begging and dog-fouling.
But campaigners say the legislation could be misused to prevent the public enjoying public spaces.
Janet Davis, the senior policy officer at the Ramblers Association, said she was concerned the legislation could be applied to areas traditionally used for leisure and recreation. “They could be used on wide-open areas, they could be used on commons, any land to which the public has access,” she told The Independent.
The Home Office say the powers, which are contained within the Government’s Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, currently going through Parliament, will stop public spaces becoming “no-go areas”.
Norman Baker, the minister responsible for crime prevention, said: “The Coalition Government is simplifying the complex array of anti-social powers introduced by the last government. “This power will make it easier to stop the behaviour of those who act anti-socially, turning our public spaces into no-go zones. It is not aimed at restricting legitimate users, such as walkers, whose activities are in fact better protected by this power than by the restrictive gating orders it replaces. Local authorities will consult ahead of putting an order in place and those affected will be able to appeal if they feel the order is not valid.”
People failing to comply with the new restrictions would be punished with on-the-spot fines.
There are further concerns that the powers could stifle public protest and legitimate demonstrations.
Josie Appleton, the convener of the civil-liberties group the Manifesto Club, said: “This Bill has shockingly open-ended powers within it that could allow councils to ban everything from protests, to outdoor public meetings, to children’s skateboarding. The list is endless.”
Ramblers 'could face walking ban' under controversial government plans - Telegraph

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