Walkers are Welcome
|Founded||18 February 2007|
The Walkers are Welcome scheme is a community-led initiative operating in England, Scotland and Wales. The scheme promotes towns and communities as 'walker-friendly', based on a number of criteria, aiming to benefit local economies by attracting tourism.
The scheme was first proposed in Summer 2006 by a local walkers group in the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge and formerly launched on 18 February 2007. Since then, it has expanded rapidly and more than ninety towns and villages have been granted Walkers are Welcome status.
The Walkers are Welcome Towns Network claims that the scheme helps strengthen a town’s reputation as a destination for visitors, and also brings benefits to the local economy, encouraging the towns to view walkers as "economic assets".
The scheme is run by the towns and villages themselves, who are all members of the Walkers are Welcome Towns Network. The Network operates through a committee that meets every six to eight weeks as well as an annual conference.
The scheme is different from most official accreditation schemes in being managed through peer review, rather than through a top-down agency. Direct community engagement is considered essential to the scheme’s success.
Objectives and criteria for inclusion
The main aim of the campaign is to get towns to be more supportive of hikers. Towns and villages wishing to receive Walkers are Welcome status are required to meet six criteria. These are:
- Demonstration of popular local support for the concept.
- Formal endorsement by local council.
- Action to maintain facilities for walkers in good condition.
- Adequate marketing of the Walkers are Welcome status.
- Encouragement of use of public transport.
- Procedures in place to demonstrate sustainability of local interest.
- "Walkers are Welcome network grows to over 50 towns", National Trails News, retrieved 3 September 2010
- "Welcoming a new breed of walkers", BBC Radio 4 You and Yours, 6 November 2009, retrieved 5 September 2010
- http://www.walkersarewelcome.org.uk/ retrieved 11 December 2012
- "Fact Sheet 1" (PDF), Walkers are Welcome, retrieved 3 September 2010
- "Otley has warm welcome to walkers", BBC News, 5 February 2010, retrieved 5 September 2010
- "Winter walks and refreshing rambles", Independent on Sunday, 20 December 2009, retrieved 5 September 2010
- "Kate Ashbrook becomes patron of Walkers Are Welcome", Ramblers Association News, 20 October 2008, retrieved 3 September 2010
- "Yorkshire: Striding ahead in the Six Dales", Independent on Sunday, 26 June 2010, retrieved 5 September 2010