Whitchurch has been an accredited member of the National Walkers are Welcome Town Tourism network since 2015, becoming the first town in North Hampshire to achieve the standard. Nearby Overton followed a year later. This community led national accreditation scheme recognises towns that make it easy for visiting walkers to:
• Enjoy excellent walking opportunities on well maintained way- marked footpaths.
• Stay in local accommodation and use the services of local businesses.
• Plan their journey using local transport.
You may have seen our many volunteers out and around town clearing the footpaths of litter, dealing with overgrown vegetation, replacing stiles with gates and leading walks. What you may not be aware of is the other work being undertaken by the steering committee to help raise the profile of Whitchurch and the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Apart from marketing and promoting Whitchurch at events in Hampshire and other parts of the country, over the past two years we have been developing links with various independent bodies and local authority departments involved in the countryside, environment and tourism economy as well as local businesses and transport providers; the bus walk leaflets produced last year were the result of a funded partnership arrangement with Stagecoach South and are proving very popular. In October we were invited to be guest speakers at the North Wessex Downs Annual Forum and news items have been shared throughout the Walkers are Welcome network of towns and villages.
Each year the steering committee is required to complete a detailed Annual Return on which the town’s continued accreditation is assessed. The Whitchurch Association that oversees the project is delighted to announce that in all fourteen categories Whitchurch has been graded as Excellent, the national board stating that “Whitchurch is a great example of a Walkers are Welcome town”. Particular reference was made to the range of partners we are working with and the support we are receiving from the Town Council.
The Whitchurch Association would like to thank all those giving their time to the project; the volunteers and youth groups for their hard work in helping to maintain the footpaths around town and our local businesses that are showing support for the town’s accreditation by displaying the Walkers are Welcome logo in their windows.
There have certainly been more walking groups visiting the town this year and contributing to the local economy; we very much hope this upward trend will continue.
If you would like more information or would like to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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