Clare becomes first Walkers are Welcome town in west Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
A west Suffolk town has become the first in the district – and only the second in the county – to be accredited with a Walkers are Welcome (WaW) status.
The market town of Clare, near Sudbury, found out last week that it had met the criteria for membership of WaW – a national initiative which promotes walker friendly towns.
Clare’s accreditation follows Shotley’s successful application for WaW status earlier this year.
WaW was launched in 2007 in Hebden Bridge and has expanded rapidly with more than 100 locations across the UK which have joined the innovative community-led scheme to benefit from WaW accreditation.
The initiative aims to encourage and support towns to be attractive destinations for walkers with top quality information on local walks, offer local people and visitors excellent walking opportunities within their areas, and ensure that footpaths and facilities are maintained, improved and well signposted.
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Clare’s application was overseen by the town’s walking group – which is planning to extend its work next year by entering six walks in the Suffolk Walking Festival.
It is also aiming to start ‘Stepping Out’ health walks as part of the Clare Castle Country Park’s Heritage Lottery Fund project.
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Derek Blake, chairman of the Clare Walkers Group, said: “I’d like to thank the local community for what has been a really great collaborative effort involving lots of people, including the town council, the Business Association and many others.
“We started last year by producing leaflets for six circular walks for the Country Park and the project grew very quickly from there.
“I’d also like to thank Alaric Pugh, our borough councillor, Mary Evans, our county councillor, and the Green Access Team at Suffolk County Council who have given strong support throughout.”
Paul Bishop, chairman of Clare Town Council, said: “This is great news for Clare and reflects a lot of hard work by the walkers group.
“We have just established “Visit Clare” as a formal tourism organisation and putting us on the map nationally as a top-class walking destination will boost our offer in a very positive way.”
Clare also saw the return of its market in August following an absence of 20 years.