Crickhowell and Hay-on-Wye have been granted the prestigious Walkers are Welcome status afforded to fewer than 100 towns and villages around the UK.
The Walkers are Welcome initiative brings communities together and strengthens a destination’s reputation as a place where visitors can enjoy outdoor activities, ensures footpaths and facilities are maintained, contributes to local tourism plans and regeneration strategies and provides the opportunity to engage with fellow towns who have also been awarded the status.
The recent award sees Crickhowell and Hay-on-Wye join Talgarth in becoming members of the Walkers are Welcome network – making it a hat-trick of Black Mountains communities to win the sought-after status. All three towns were supported through the accreditation process by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority as part of its Walking with Offa project.
Anna Heywood, Secretary of Hay Tourism Group, said: “Hay-on-Wye is well known for being on the crossroads of the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Wye Valley Walk, so we get a lot of people staying here for the night. The Walkers are Welcome status will help to promote Hay and the surrounding area as a great place to go walking, and we hope it will encourage people to stay for a number of nights, supporting local businesses while they do. For a small town there is a lot going on in Hay, and several different groups organising their own activities connected with walking, and the Walkers are Welcome status will also act as an umbrella for these groups to work together.”
Andy Johns of Walkers are Welcome in Crickhowell echoed these comments, saying: “We aim to promote Crickhowell as a year-round outdoor destination, building on the great reputation of our annual Walking Festival in March. The Black Mountains area brings not only wonderful walking, but also fine history, wildlife and hospitality. We want to promote walking to benefit all local businesses, and we will also help visitors to appreciate and respect the countryside they are enjoying.”
Trish Doree, Information Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, added: “It’s great news that Crickhowell and Hay-on-Wye have joined Talgarth in being granted this status. It’s a fantastic coup for the area, and I’m sure this accolade will attract even more walkers and help drive tourism opportunities in each of the towns.”
The status will act as a catalyst to publish walking guides promoting routes in each area, and there is also the possibility of developing exchange visits with fellow Walkers are Welcome towns and villages from around the UK.
The ‘Walking with Offa’ project which supported these winning bids is a partnership project which has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013. It is supported by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and match funded by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority.
For more information, please contact Trish Doree, Information Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority on 01874 620480 or email here. For more information about the scheme itself please visit www.walkersarewelcome.org.uk.