The Whitchurch Association is delighted to announce that for the second year running Whitchurch has achieved an excellence rating in all of the fourteen categories necessary to maintain the town’s accreditation to the National Walkers are Welcome Town Tourism Network, the moderator declaring that she could not fault us.
Whitchurch has been an accredited member of the scheme since 2015, becoming the first town in North Hampshire to achieve the standard with nearby Overton following 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 waymarked footpaths.
• Stay in local accommodation and use the services of local businesses.
• Plan their journey using local transport.
Many of you will have seen our Walkers are Welcome 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.
This year steering committee members have given presentations to other towns within Hampshire and have also attended a national event, this year held in Norfolk; a great opportunity to showcase the town and the North Hampshire countryside and news items and articles have been shared throughout the Walkers are Welcome network of towns and villages. Our two Walkers are Welcome Co-ordinators were also pleased to mentor Alton throughout their successful campaign to achieve accreditation and we hope to work closely with their team in the future.
Whitchurch Walkers are Welcome were also finalists in the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s Countryside Awards, a testament to the dedication and hard work of our growing band of volunteers. A particular mention should be made here of the magnificent efforts of Whitchurch Scouts in clearing 19 sacks of litter over two evening sessions and the Explorer Scouts, ‘Team Explorer’ for once again tackling with vim and vigour the head high undergrowth along the Southfield Farm track.
This autumn the Whitchurch Association produced a Whitchurch Heritage Trail booklet, which it’s hoped will encourage visitors to spend more time exploring our lovely town and spend money in our shops and eateries and the Association also paid for a re-run of the very popular bus walks leaflets, which can be found at the Town Hall, the White Hart Inn and the Gill Nethercott Centre. These leaflets are also available for download on our website www.whitchurchwalks.net.
We are currently completing a further bus walk, this time using the 86 bus south of Whitchurch. When completed this route will take walkers on to a section of the old Didcot to Southampton railway embankment, cross fields offering far ranging views across to Danebury Hill Fort before dropping down to the river valley by The Cleeves at Longparish…watch this space for updates on our progress.
The Whitchurch Association would once again 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.
If you would like more information or would like to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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