LEOMINSTER celebrated its accreditation as a 'Walkers are Welcome' town last Saturday with a launch event.

And the title, earned last summer, has led to a surge in people visiting the town according to the group.

Last Saturday's launch included entertainment from Jenny Pipes Morris and the Playhouse Company as well as a number of guided walks.

Dennis Downey, one of Leominster's Walkers are Welcome committee members, said: "We were delighted by the turn-out. The walks have been reasonably well supported and seem to have been enjoyed by everybody. We probably had about 40 people on the walks and a few 100 people in Corn Square at the launch event."

The group is now working with Leominster Festival to set up a walking festival alongside the main event.

Details of available walks are listed in the festival programme.

For Leominster, the accreditation means an increased profile with the town listed online as one of more than 100 locations nationwide which welcomes walkers.

"An example of what it means for the town is that we had a coach load of 45 people from Birmingham last week and 25 people from Evesham tomorrow so we are doing well," Dennis added.

"People are picking it up from the national website and looking at Leominster as a place to come. We are hoping that working with Leominster Festival will encourage even more."