BIDD24 Path Closure Update

Dear Walkers

Wiltshire Council have installed a temporary foot bridge at the EA Sluice on the By Brook at Slaughterford on BIDD24 at Grid Reference: ST 83684 73871.
The EA have still yet to fix the sink hole adjacent to the bank which is still cordoned off. Please stay away from the unstable hole.

The sink hole is dangerous, should the ground collapse under your feet then you will possibly become a plug in the sink hole which then turns into a sink that will fill with water from the By Brook – not a happy ending. No date has been set as yet for the sink hole fix.

Corsham Walking Festival 2022 – March Update

Dear All

Hopefully, those storms did not all leave you with fence panels missing or additional items of garden furniture or trampolines lying in your gardens.

Since the last newsletter the Committee has been busy working away in the background on all manner of ‘stuff’ to bring the walking festival together. They have pulled together a programme of walks that will promote all that is interesting to see both in the Town and the surrounding countryside.

As in previous year’s there will be both a free Mystery Walk and Children’s Treasure Hunt.

What is appreciated, so far in our preparations, is the relaxation of Covid restrictions that hung like a ‘dark rain cloud’ over last year’s festival.

So, some dates for your diaries and some requests for assistance.

Corsham Walking Festival 2022

The festival will take place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June and will be a key element of this year’s Corsham June Festival. The brochure is now finalised and is with Corsham Print for printing but please find below a copy for your information. Tickets go on sale on Monday 4th April and booking will be via our website at: http://corshamwalkingfestival.org.uk.

For those of you who visit the festival website (link above) on a regular basis, you will have noticed that both the festival programme and the full descriptions of the walks have been uploaded, just that the ‘Booking Button’ does not work yet. So, you can now start to plan what walks you would like to do in advance of the booking system going ‘live’.

Once we have received the brochures, we will be distributing them through the normal outlets such as Corsham Town Hall, Tourist Information Centre, Bookshop, and other retail outlets. It would be great if you would share the above information with your family and friends to get the word out that the ‘Festival is Coming to Town’.

As a cautionary note, all the walks may be subject to change in the light of any changing health regulations so please check the website nearer the date even if you book early.

We are planning on putting up an ‘Information Hub’ of all things related to walking in and around our area and any exhibits from our Sponsors and Supporters. This ‘Hub’ will be in the Springfield Community Campus, hopefully in the two weeks running up to the start of the festival.

We are also planning an Opening Ceremony which is our chance to say thank-you to our sponsors and other supporters who help to ensure the festival’s continued success.

All of the above has come together with the exceptional work done by the Committee and the walk leaders & back markers who have started to ensure that the paths and byways to be used on the day are fit for purpose.

However, we do need support in running our ‘Festival HQ’ which mainly involves signing walkers in, providing kit to walk leaders, and generally helping the walks to get away on time. If you can give an hour or two over that weekend to lend a helping hand, please contact me at: chair@corshamwalkingfestival.org.uk.

Corsham Walking Festival Brochure 2022

Corsham Eco Fair – 2nd April

As part of the Eco Fair that will be held on the 2nd April we will have a display on all matters relating to walking in the area so please come and see us outside the Springfield Community Campus.

Walkers are Welcome Summary 2021

In last year’s March Newsletter, Tom, outlined the link between the Corsham Walking Festival (CWF) and the Town’s accreditation to the national Walkers are Welcome (WaW) Association. WaW is a nationwide initiative to encourage towns and villages to be welcoming to walkers.

Corsham is one of over 100 locations in the UK that have joined this community-led scheme. Full details about WAW can be found at: https://walkersarewelcome.org.uk/

The CWF committee works with WaW on behalf of the town. As an accredited town, we submit an annual return to WaW in January of each year reporting on our walk-related activities for the previous year. Our WaW mentor then provides feedback on the report. We were delighted that the WaW feedback for 2021 was extremely positive. The following paragraphs summarise the highlights of the 2021 report.

Achievements and Innovation 2021

The main achievement of 2021 was being able to hold the Walking Festival after the cancellation in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. The festival was a resounding success, attracting 317 walkers of which 101 came from outside of the Corsham area. The 26 walks offered covered a total of 164.75 miles over three glorious days of sunshine. Our WaW mentor congratulated us on our festival that is to be going from strength to strength and attracting 101 ‘out of area’ visitors that must have benefitted local businesses hit hard by Covid.

In November, although Services of Remembrance were permitted, for the second year a group of ex-Servicemen and friends walked 19 miles between the Town and Village War Memorials and Commonwealth War Graves sites, laying British Legion Remembrance Crosses to commemorate the fallen. Our WaW mentor was pleased to see that we had continued with our Remembrance walk as it clearly resonates with people?

During the various ‘lockdowns’, walkers continued to enjoy the paths and trails around Corsham, and this momentum continued throughout the year. Weekly guided walks were also offered by NWW Ramblers, the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens and the Wiltshire Walking for Health Group. Monthly walks were also guided by members of the St Barts and Corsham Wanderers walking groups.

The WaW mentor praised the hard work of the various walking groups and that she hopes that this encouraging trend continues, and the town enjoys the benefits of our hard work.

Local Support

The WaW mentor again noted that the Town Council works closely with the committee, encourages our efforts, and recognises the value of the work undertaken and hopes this support continues for the future.

Priorities 2022

We reported that plans were already in place for the 2022 Festival and that the priority is to introduce even more people to Corsham and its countryside and to keep providing walks of interest for the local community and visitors alike.

Also, because of holding our Walking Festival in 2021 we have attracted some new walk leaders and backmarkers. To help these new volunteers we are offering walk leading mentoring sessions provided by two very experienced walk leaders. These mentoring sessions will help to develop the skills of new volunteers who all express a real interest in developing their skills. Going forward, we are looking to provide this initiative annually for those walkers who wish to support the Walking Festival.

In summary, our WaW mentor praised us for another excellent Annual Return and that we are clearly heading in the right direction. She was impressed by the multi-group interaction within the town and the encouragement you receive which coupled with the support from all our volunteers is key to achieving a successful outcome.

Best wishes
Barry Cox
Chair, Corsham Walking Festival Committee
chair@corshamwalkingfestival.org.uk

Notice to Walkers – Path Closure BIDD24 – Biddestone Heritage Trail

Dear Walkers

Following the recent bad weather and heavy rainfall there are now several issue with the footpaths close to the By Brook at Slaughterford.

Wiltshire Council have now inspected the footpaths and will be closing BIDD24 under an emergency closure for 21 days and then they will roll that onto a 6-month temporary closure. This will allow Wiltshire Council time to formulate a plan to try to keep the footpath open, due to the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Wiltshire Council hope that some temporary access for the path can be achieved as soon as it is safe to do so.

Wiltshire Council, Countryside Access Officers, will be installing notices and barriers on site, to prevent access and have provided an alternative route suggestion for user information, shown as marked in red on the attached Wiltshire Council Urgent Closure Notice.

Urgent Closure of Footpath Biddestone 24

If you are walking locally following the Biddestone Heritage Trail map it is advised that you follow the alternative route shown on the following Biddestone Heritage Trail map to avoid the section of path at Slaughterford marked with red crosses that is now closed.

Thank you.

Barry Cox
Heritage Trails Project