Walking with Offa project hailed a success

Ledbury Reporter: The group behind the Walking with Offa project. The group behind the Walking with Offa project.

A £1million project to boost tourism around an historic county landmark has been hailed a success.

The Walking with Offa project started in 2009 with the aim of making the famous 177-mile long Offa's Dyke Path National Trail more accessible to walkers.

The earthwork boundary, built by King Offa in the eighth century, passes through Herefordshire north of Kington and attracts thousands of walkers every year.

The project aims to build on this and so far 27 new circular walks for visitors to use have been developed.

As well as this, materials such as maps highlighting walking routes, bus routes and landmark sights across the region have been provided and training has been given to walk leaders.

At a recent conference the project - which is organised by a number of councils and groups- was hailed such a success that it may continue beyond its scheduled end date of September this year if funding is available.

Project co-ordinator, Lucinda James, said: “We couldn’t be happier with what the partnership has achieved.

"As a result of the project the English-Welsh borderlands can now boast a strong network of Walkers are Welcome towns, including Hay-on-Wye, Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and Bromyard.

"We can’t wait to discuss the new ideas as these ideas are going to help us in designing phase II of the project.”

Ruth Coulthard, one of the original team involved in the creation of the Walking with Offa project, said: “One fifth of the Walkers are Welcome network in the whole of the UK is here in the border country.

“We decided we wanted to work with the Walkers are Welcome network because it is aligned to the objectives of Walking with Offa. It brings people together, harnesses the power of the community, makes the most of the resources, develops solutions that last, shares best practice, improves the economy and gets businesses talking to other businesses and promoting each other.

"If we can develop a walking destination that meets the needs of walkers that means people will come back and are more likely to spend more money.”

For more information about Walking with Offa please contact: LucindaJames@monmouthshire.gov.uk

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