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Norfolk walking group celebrates adding £1m to local economies

PUBLISHED: 15:49 28 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:40 31 October 2017

The Dereham Walkers Are Welcome walk on Sunday, October 2.

The Dereham Walkers Are Welcome walk on Sunday, October 2.

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A walking community group which operates in three Norfolk towns is not only making its members fitter, but also helping to keep the local economy in good shape.

Cromer wins the Walkers are Welcome status. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Cromer wins the Walkers are Welcome status. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Walkers are Welcome is an organisation which operates in Aylsham, Cromer, and Dereham, creating routes for walkers and organising events.

In a survey undertaken by the group, WAW has demonstrated that its initiative has helped the economy of the 111 towns it is in.

This ranges from boosting the numbers of customers in cafes and pubs, as well as accommodation, to a higher revenue raised in car parks.

Improvements to public facilities have also been reported in the 2017 survey, with some towns saying their public toilets have remained open because of increased footfall.

Kate Ashbrook, patron of the Walkers Are Welcome Towns Network, said: ”The results of the survey are impressive. If you scale up the responses, the money raised from Walkers Are Welcome in a year must be over one million pounds. The energy and activities of these towns are phenomenal.”

She said: “This survey shows that by promoting walking, the towns are putting themselves on the walking map, with all the benefits which follow.

“We hope that many more towns will recognise the value of being part of the Walkers Are Welcome family and will apply to join us.”

Swaffham and Wymondham are two other Norfolk towns which are in the process of becoming a Walkers are Welcome town.

To become a WAW national credited area, towns must prove they have demonstrated their commitment to promoting facilities for walkers. This includes showing support from local businesses, paths being open and marked, as well as encouraging public transport along the routes.

If this can be demonstrated, towns are awarded WAW status by the group’s national committee.

There are currently 111 groups across England, Scotland, and Wales, with more than 1,200 walks totalling 6,342 miles.

To find out more about Walkers are Welcome in Norfolk, visit: walkersarewelcome.org.uk.

If you would like to join the Cromer walking group, visit: walkcromer.co.uk, for Dereham visit www.derehamwaw.org.uk and for Aylsham visit: aylshamwalkersarewelcome.weebly.com

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