Walkers are Welcome Otley
Walkers are Welcome Otley is part of a nationwide initiative welcoming walkers and promoting walking in order to contribute to the economic, physical and mental well-being of local communities.’
‘Walkers are Welcome’ (WAW) towns and villages across the UK are places that have something special to offer walkers of all ages and ability and provide a variety of outstanding walking experiences.
WAW nationally is a non-profit Community Interest Company. The nationwide initiative was launched in 2007 to encourage towns and villages to be ‘welcoming to walkers’. The network has expanded rapidly and there are now over 100 locations across the UK that have joined this community-led scheme.
WAW aims to help make towns and villages attractive for walkers, with top quality information on local walks, ensuring that footpaths and facilities for walkers are maintained, improved and well-signposted, raising their profile as attractive tourist destinations, promoting the health benefits of walking, and encouraging the use of public transport.
Otley was one of the first towns to join the scheme and was awarded accreditation in 2008. Our main object is promoting Otley as a walking centre. Walkers are Welcome Otley has published the long-distance Six Dales Trail from Otley to Middleham, and the walk leaflets Otley Four Walks and Otley Four More Walks. We advise our local authorities on walking matters and work to maintain and promote our footpaths and rights of way.
We work closely together with the Otley Walkers and Otley Walking Festival and have successfully encouraged local businesses to advertise they welcome walkers.
Together with the other Walkers are Welcome communities of our area – Baildon, Burley in Wharfedale, and Bingley – we developed and published the circular Welcome Way that links the four communities.
With Friends of the Chevin Forest, we developed and published two leaflets for historical walks on the wooded Chevin ridge above Otley.
Kate Ashbrook, patron of Walkers are Welcome and President of the Ramblers, says:
“Walkers are Welcome has grown at an astonishing pace as more and more towns and villages have seen the benefits of accreditation and have come on board. Now walkers know that, if they see the friendly footprint logo, they are assured of a warm welcome throughout the town, a good path network and waymarked walks roundabout. So everyone benefits – visitors, residents and the local economy.”