Ottery welcomes walkers with accreditation
Ottery is officially welcoming to walkers after the town received special accreditation to help boost tourism.
Toni [corr] Williams, the Town Crier, announced the Walkers are Welcome status had been reached on the steps of the Old Convent last week.
The community-led project aims to help strengthen a town’s reputation as a place for visitors to come and enjoy the outdoors.
And organisers Phyllis Baxter and Councillor John Harding hope it will also bring useful benefits to the local economy.
Phyllis, the manger of Ottery’s Tourist Information Centre, said she had only heard of the scheme three months ago when John came to her with the idea.
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But since then they have built up more than 500 signatures with the help of councillors and the parish footpath walkers, and their application has been successful.
She said it was a great opportunity to promote walking as a major attraction to the town, and hoped it would sit alongside Ottery’s other major events such as Tar Barrels, Pixie Day and the Coleridge Weekend.
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The tourism manager said: “Walkers are Welcome will open many new avenues for us here in Ottery, bringing in next year two new walking festivals.
“This is of great significance to the local economy and will help to bring back many visitors year after year.”
John Harding, who is also co-ordinator for Ottery and the surrounding area’s footpaths, said: “The Walkers are Welcome accolade is another string to an already impressive lost of organisations that rate Ottery highly, and will advertise our name and facilities to an even larger audience.”
Signs will now be put up in pubs, shops and cafes saying walkers are welcome in the town, but Cllr Harding said they still need people to come forward and let the council know if there are any problems with local footpaths so Ottery remains an attractive destination.