A new project to welcome walkers to country towns near famous rambler routes was celebrated at the weekend in the town which pioneered the move: Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, some 20 miles south of the Yorkshire Dales section of the Pennine Way.
Hebden became the first “Walkers are Welcome” town in England in 2007 with backing from the local council, local organisations, and businesses in the area.
The town lies a couple of miles west of the way and the aim is to ensure that walkers who take the time and trouble to make the small detour will get a welcome in local pubs, shops, cafes and B&Bs.
The nation-wide scheme is being backed by England’s oldest countryside campaign group, the Open Spaces Society http://www.oss.org.uk/, whose general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, welcomed the move when speaking inn the town at the weekend.
Describing Hebden as a “pioneer town,” she went on: “Walkers Are Welcome status ensures that Hebden Bridge, with its spectacular yet intimate countryside, is truly on the walkers’ map. There’s a fascinating history, the paths are good, the views are breathtaking, the shops, pubs and cafés are welcoming and there are good public transport links.”