Suffolk community steps out with new walking guide
Shotley leading the way on path to health and increased tourism
When it comes to walking, Shotley has a lot to shout about - it’s a leader of the pack of an increasing number of Suffolk communities reaping the health and wellbeing rewards that simply putting one foot in front of the other can bring.
This week the village that nestles between the rivers Orwell and Stour notched up another milestone in its enthusiastic journey into the realms of walking when the new Shotley Walk Explorer Guide was launched. Produced by the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the publication has been supported by Shotley Parish Council, Shotley Open Spaces, Orwell View Barns, Shotley Marina and East Anglian Honey as well as the locality budget of Suffolk County Council member David Woods, who represents the local peninsula and is chairman of the AONB’s Partnership.
Already Suffolk’s first official location to be accredited in the national Walkers Are Welcome local economy-boosting network of walker-friendly communities, Shotley has stepped out in style in recent months with a wealth of walking initiatives.
The guide highlights four scenic and historic walks around the peninsula. There is a “Two Rivers Walk” of 5.4 miles, a “Shotley Point Stroll” of 3.1 miles, a 7.5-mile “Farms and Rivers Walk” and the “Arthur Ransome’s Walking Trail” - a six-mile route that explores the area featured in the author’s book We Didn’t Mean to Go To Sea.
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Mr Wood told guests at the guide’s launch at Shotley’s Bristol Arms: “Shotley really has become a destination over the last few months and years. We have always known it is special and I have always thought that it is where the AONB starts, although soon it may start across the river with its proposed boundary extension taking in part of Essex.
“The profile of the AONB has really grown in the last few years and it is very special and diverse, with its estuaries, peace, tranquillity and its bustling resorts.”
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In a new venture for Shotley the community had teamed up with One Life Suffolk to organise a series of health walks that had become “a real focal point of the Shotley calendar - and more power to its elbow,” he said,
Shotley Open Spaces secretary Geraint Pugh told the EADT there were four trained health walk guides in the local community and four more were soon to be trained.
“Our health walks are designed to be circular and less than one-hour so if anyone wants to go back they can do so easily,” he said. “They have been a great success and are a real benefit to many people who want exercise with the support of other people. In fact, they are so successful that we are having about one a month - it would be nice if doctors prescribed health walks instead of pills because the benefits are so good.”
Laura Beale, One Life Suffolk’s campaigns and marketing lead, was one of the launch guests. She told the EADT One Life Suffolk was an integrated healthy lifestyle service commissioned by Suffolk County Council, offering a number of free services across the county, including health walks. “With the free, guided health walks there is something for everyone and they are really inclusive,” she said.