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Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010
Otley has warm welcome to walkers
Otley Chevin
Up on the Chevin with great views

Otley nestles under the Chevin on the river Wharfe about 10 miles northwest of Leeds.

The town has access to some great countryside and, since 2008, is a member of Walkers are Welcome (WAW).

Otley joins 35 other UK towns in being recognised for the scheme.

WAW hopes to boost Otley's reputation with visitors and help the local economy. It helps to keep footpaths and facilities for walkers in good condition.

The market town's reputation for walking will be at the forefront when noted rambler Janet Street Porter visits for the opening of a new nationally recognised, 39-mile long distance walk. The celebrations are all part of an established walking festival.

Six Dales Trail and Otley Walking Festival

Walking near Otley
Walking is healthy, friendly and free

Launch: Saturday, 26 June 2010, at 9 am, Manchester Square, Otley with Janet Street Porter.

The 10th Otley Walking Festival then goes on until Sunday, 4 July.

The trail will take walkers from Otley, across the Wharfe and into countryside to the north. After leaving Wharfedale it traverses Washburndale, Nidderdale, Colsterdale and Coverdale to finish at Middleham in Wensleydale.

Quality walking

Peter Corkill secretary of the Otley group talking about the WAW scheme says:

"We had to fulfil six criteria about regeneration and community but the scheme is primarily about providing a quality walking experience.

Otley market
All four of the walks in the local leaflet start at the clock

"What is good about WAW here is that it is a 'bottom-up' movement from a group of walkers. We've mobilised our different skills to run the group.

"It is hard to quantify any financial benefit yet for the town, but we have sold 1200 brochures with details of four local walks.

"We have 115 households in our Otley Walkers Club, if everybody turned up together it would be chaos, but we typically have between 12 and 20 people on a walk. The nice thing is that it is a different permutation of members every time we go out.

"Studies have shown that walking is very effective at spreading wealth in to small towns - even if it is only to buy a cup of tea and a scone, walkers spend their money.

"The member towns of WAW tend to be, shall we say, less fashionable towns but we can still offer great walking in beautiful scenery.

Walkers are Welcome
Walkers are Welcome is a nationwide campaign
It was launched in 2006
Otley was accredited in September 2008

"We are outside of 'honeypot' places, like Ambleside for instance, but if you are looking for somewhere quieter and different a WAW town is what you want. We try hard to link walks to public transport where possible.

"I think Otley is down-to-earth, it's not Harrogate or Ilkley, but it has got a great character of its own. It functions in its own friendly, quiet way.

"The whole WAW movement was unashamedly based on the idea of Fairtrade towns. We hope to create a 'label' for a walking experience that people will trust."

For more information

or email wawotley@mail.com





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