Petition launched to get Sid Valley affiliated with ‘Walkers are Welcome’ network

The Sidmouth and East Devon Walking Festival has been running successfully for several years, with

The Sidmouth and East Devon Walking Festival has been running successfully for several years, with walkers pictured here at the start of the 2016 event. Picture: contributed - Credit: Archant

A petition has been launched to put the Sid Valley on the map for walking and trek enthusiasts.

Walkers at Mutter's Moor Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Walkers at Mutter's Moor Picture: Alex Walton Photography - Credit: Archant

Town councillor Jeff Turner, who chairs the Parish Paths Partnership, is hoping to bag 800 signatures in the next three months so the district becomes affiliated with the Walkers are Welcome (WAW) network.

WAW is a nationwide initiative launched in 2007 to be 'welcoming to walkers'. The organisation enables the development of more 100 accredited towns and villages members to assist with their communities' economic, physical, health and mental well-being through walking.

Mr Turner said there is certain set of criteria that must be met for a town or parish to become officially affiliated with WAW.

He said: "One criteria is that we need a petition signed by five per cent of the population of the Sid Valley.

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"This is about 750 to 800 signatures.

"At the moment, I suspect we have less than 100 who have signed, but I am confident we will get there in the next three months. People are generally supportive of walking."

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The Sid Valley is regularly visited by walkers and hikers - with community groups tapping into the enthusiasm for the hobby to raise money for good causes.

This year, two 'pebble walks' will be hosted by Sidmouth Hospiscare, which is responsible for providing care and support for people with life-limiting illnesses, and their families and carers.

The walks will be held on Sunday, June 14, starting and finishing from Sidmouth Rugby Club. A shorter trek of 4.9 miles with a high point of 131 feet, and a longer walk of 7.6 miles, with a high point of 793 feet, will be offered to participants.

Mr Turner said preparations are also well under way for Sidmouth and East Devon Walking Festival 2020.

The week of free guided walks lets residents and visitors to Sidmouth discover the scenic coastal walks offered in Sidmouth and East Devon.

Mr Turner said: "The Sid Valley is excellent for walkers. We have got about 130 kilometres of paths and bridleways which are all very well signposted.

"Our paths are very well serviced and maintained.

"We have a fantastic group of people looking after the footpaths, laying stones and maintaining stiles and bridges.

"A lot of people enjoy walking in the Sid Valley."

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