Walking Newtown volunteers identify circular walks, open them up and publicize them to encourage their use by all.
Walking Newtown was formed in 2012 by a small number of people interested in walking in the Newtown area but finding nocircular town walks. Most of the footpaths on the OS maps were blocked, overgrown and generally inaccessible. There were also no published walks.
Identifying potential walks from the OS and definitive maps was the first stage and opening them up followed. This involved working with the Rights of Way & Access Officer in Powys County Council’s Countryside Services, who liaised with land owners and provided tools and equipment. All the volunteers in the group have undergone training in tool handling and health and safety, and a number were also trained in first aid.
The initial small group has grown to the current membership of 24 of whom about 12 people work twice a month throughout the spring, summer and autumn to replace old gates and stiles with new pedestrian gates, build steps and bridges, and clear paths. To date, we have put in more than 2000 volunteer hours of work and installed 51 pedestrian gates. In the winter we write up our walks for publication on the official Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn town council web site. We regularly edit this site ourselves to keep it up to date. We also print fliers, posters and individual walk leaflets for those without internet access.
Our other members walk the existing paths, help to keep them open and report any problems on the walks.
We have so far developed 17 circular walks, with more to come. We are working toward making new walks around town accessible for buggies, wheelchairs and mobility scooters so people with walking difficulties can still get out into the fresh air with their friends and family. We are also working with the Going Green for a Living consortium to improve the green spaces in town. We recently became a not-for-profit organization recognized as charitable by HMRC for tax purposes but are not a charity registered with the Charity Commission.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
Any money we receive will be used to print leaflets and posters which are freely available at the library, town council office, railway station, banks and B&Bs. We will publicise our walks to get them known to residents and visitors through posters, events, walks.
"Walking Newtown is a well run and well motivated group of volunteers. Members have been surveying, improving and documenting walks in the Newtown area for 6 years. These walks are contributing to tourism in the town, as well as helping local people to engage in physical activity, which is beneficial to their physical and mental health. I have no hesitation in recommending the group to you.
Mayor of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn,
and Walking Newtown member"