I’ve started to help organise the latest iteration of the Marsden Walkers Are Welcome group.
Although in truth we haven’t had chance to plan much yet as we’re all new to it and need time to work out priorities, structures etc.. and it’s that crazy pre-christmas period.
The guys who set up the Marsden group (part of the national Walkers Are Welcome organisation) are all, for various reasons, heading off at the same time. Hence the ‘we’re all new to it’.
Walkers Are Welcome is all about being a ‘bottom-up’ initiative, driven by a local community. Which meant that if a few new folk didn’t step in, then a lot of the great work the founding steering group had done would dwindle away. In some cases that would mean previously cleared and renovated old trails and pathways would once again succumb to bramble, mud or (worse) blockage.
The aims of the overall / national Walkers Are Welcome non-profit Community Interest Company are to encourage 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”
(the points above quoted from the National WAW website)
The Marsden Walkers Are Welcome group defined and then narrated six great walks around the village. My default position is remote / off-piste but I like and have walked these tracks and paths in and around the village. And reading about the history associated with them via the researched leaflets has been great.
Annual Paths Survey
The new steering group has yet to really get officially going – just two informal pub meets so far (never a chore).
But one of the first things we’ll be organising will be the annual paths survey in Spring .. which means a group of volunteers surveying all the Rights Of Way in our part of Kirklees (not just the six WAW designated paths). I helped out a couple of times in previous years.
I’d say I know quite a few of the other outdoorsy folks in the village but it’ll be good to meet some new people equally interested in keeping the tracks and paths open (and in one case, accessible for all).