We all know Abergavenny and its surrounding countryside is a beautiful place to walk. People come from all over the UK, and even further to tread the foothills of the Black Mountains, enjoy the tranquillity of the canal and explore the many valleys in the Vale of Usk and in the Brecon Beacons.
Did you know, though, that the town is also famed for its welcome. In 2013 Abergavenny won glowing praise from the UK Walkers Are Welcome network, an organisation which assesses communities across the UK not only for their walking offer, but in their success in keeping walkers happy. Our town was the 100th town to join the network and we aim to keep this prestigious award.
Of course we want to do this because we are keen to ensure that the walking offer for everyone who lives and visits here is the best it can be. However, we are also keen to maintain the status as walking is vital to supporting our local economy and businesses. In Wales, there are a staggering estimated 28 million walking related trips per year, 74% of holidays involve walking as a main or important part of their trip and direct spending on walking trips was £632m!
Walkers are keener than ever to visit year round and we are lucky to have two exceptional walking festivals in Crickhowell at the end of February and in Monmouthshire in October. This provides much welcome support for our tourism businesses in quieter months.
The national accolade was applied for by Abergavenny Walkers are Welcome. Our group is made up of a number of local people with various interests but all with a passion for walking in common. We are focused on not only enhancing what’s on offer for walkers in our town but also maintaining our status and we are supported by our patron Kate Humble.
We have ambitious plans to create new online walking routes from the centre of our town of various lengths, create themed trails for families and visitors, work with others to make local rights of way easier to navigate and promote our walking offer the rest of the UK and beyond.
To do this we need your help! Do you have a passion for walking or a skill you could offer – maybe helping identify new routes, creating route descriptions, guided walk leading, publication writing or graphic design? Even if you can’t identify a particular skill now, we would love to welcome to our group any who have a love for the area and for walking. We have access to a range of training courses so there are opportunities to get stuck in and develop new skills.
If you think you could help and would like to join an enthusiastic and like-minded group of people then please get in touch either by calling Ruth on 07528 225751 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.