More than 20 attendees, who also included representatives of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Lower Wye Ramblers and the Monmouthshire Walking Festival, heard how the national Walkers are Welcome accreditation scheme could help put the historic town more firmly on the map as a destination for walkers.
Sam Phillips, representing the Walkers are Welcome scheme in Ross-on-Wye, attended the meeting to explain Ross’s own experiences and how improving the town’s offer for visiting walkers had brought benefits for tourism and for local people alike. Ross is the nearest town to Monmouthshire to have already adopted the scheme. “It would be a real grass roots effort to promote Chepstow,” he advised.
Zara Bligh, from adventa, has organised a second meeting for anyone interested in making Chepstow a
"Walkers are Welcome accredited town."
The meeting’s organiser, Zara Bligh from adventa, the county’s rural development programme, said: “Chepstow has the opportunity to lead the way for other towns in Monmouthshire by applying for Walkers are Welcome status. It’s hard to think how it could be better placed – it’s surrounded by wonderful walking country, at the start of the Wales Coast Path and the Wye Valley Walk and near the start of the Offa’s Dyke National Trail. “
Sam Phillips, a member of the National Walkers are Welcome Committee,said once a committee was established to take the idea forward, his experiences in Ross suggested the accreditation process should take no more than six to seven months, after which efforts then need to focus on sustaining and maintaining the brand. Help is available from the scheme nationally and Sam is the appointed mentor for the area.
Zara added that adventa would also be able to signpost the way to other sources of help, for anyone who wanted to form a committee to take the idea on. For accommodation providers who wish to improve facilities for walkers, adventa are also able to make some small capital grants available.
A further meeting has been arranged for Tuesday, October 11 from 6.30pm to 8pm at Chepstow Methodist Church, Albion Square, Chepstow. Anyone interested in attending or in joining a committee to take forward Walkers are Welcome accreditation for Chepstow, or businesses across Monmouthshire interested in the grants available to improve facilities for walkers, can find out more by contacting: 01633 748311 or email@example.com.