- GUIDED WALKS: We adapted to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic by organising guided walks for small groups of up to 6 participants with one leader throughout summer, autumn, and winter, whenever the current restrictions for the Bradford area allowed. Pre-booking was required. There were usually at least four of these “Guided Sixer” walks each month, led by a variety of leaders and on a variety of days and over a variety of lengths and terrains. The news of these guided walks spread beyond the confines of Baildon and we were pleased to welcome some participants from other areas of Bradford. These “Sixer Walks” became so popular that they were often fully booked within hours of the details being published. Many of our walkers said how important is was to them to be able to walk and talk with other people as a “bit of normality”. We intend to resume these “Sixer” walks when restrictions permit.
- LOCKDOWN WALKS FOR SELF-GUIDING. During the initial lockdown period in the spring, and again during the second lockdown in the autumn, we devised and uploaded on to our website a total of 9 “Lockdown Walks” for self-guiding. We received considerable positive feedback about these. See https://baildonwalkersarewelcome.org/lockdown-walks/
- PUBLICATIONS. At the end of October, we launched our latest publication: “BAILDON FOOTNAV: How to walk from here to there”. This book includes 11 walking routes from Baildon to our surrounding towns and villages, and sells for £5. The production of the book was handled by Assembly Marketing who also assist us with arranging web hosting. We are pleased to support an excellent local business. October was not an auspicious time to launch a new publication with most shops and events at which we would have hoped to sell our book, closed. However, by offering a mail-order and hand-delivery service, we were delighted with the interest in this book as a Christmas stocking-filler. This publication is inspired by the same motivations as the national “Slow Routes” movement (aiming to provide walking routes between all settlements across the UK). We have offered to share our routes and also to try-out any alternative routes that they wish to pioneer. Our earlier publications (Four Walks for Self-guiding; Welcome to Baildon photos book); and copies of The Welcome Way guide have also been in demand in the lead-up to Christmas.
In 2021, we aim to publish a book with walking routes for self-guiding, all starting from the Potted Meat Stick. In future years, we hope to produce companion books for walks starting from Bracken Hall, and from the Railway Station.PARTNERSHIP WORKING.
4. We continued to promote the “Welcome Way” 28-mile walk linking the four local WaW communities. We have worked closely with the neighbouring WaW Groups – in Otley, Burley, and Bingley – to revisit and revise The Welcome Way, linking Otley, Burley, and Baildon with an additional 9-mile loop to Bingley. Towards the end of 2020, we have walked and updated the description of the route for the accompanying Welcome Way book, in order to prepare a reprint which will this time include the Bingley Loop. Whilst walking the Baildon sections of The Welcome Way, we have replaced roundels where this was needed. The new version of The Welcome Way Guide is about to go to print and the new version should be available this spring. Local photographer Ros Crossland has contributed three photos to the new guide. The first print of the Welcome way guide has almost sold out. It has been sold through outlets in all the towns on the route and on-line. Negotiations with Ordnance Survey to have the route marked as National Trail are advanced and there is agreement that it will be on the next edition of the map. This will attract more attention to the route nationally and will enhance visitor numbers.
5. LOOKING AFTER OUR FOOTPATHS / CO-OPERATION WITH BRADFORD COUNTRYSIDE AND HIGHWAYS SERVICE:
During the past year, members of Baildon WaW Committee have walked and checked every right of way marked on the OS map, and many other permissive footpaths. Most are passable, but the increase in number of people walking over the past year, has left some damage. It is hoped that when spring arrives, nature will do some of its own repair work.
Baildon WaW has an excellent relationship with Bradford Council Countryside Service. Richard Perham and his team have been very quick to respond to referrals from us about footpath problems and they have been active throughout the year to help to keep rights of way open. Bradford Council Highways officers have also been most helpful. Particular repairs of note in the past year have been:
- Repair and reopening of footpath below Glovershaw Farm (on route of The Welcome Way and Dales Highway)
- Repair and reopening of the bridge over the River Aire at Buck Lane.
- Repairs to the footbridge at the Sconce end of the Gill Beck Valley. (Unfortunately, winter floods have recently severely damaged this bridge and the Countryside Service have had to remove it – we hope it will be restored as soon as possible).
Where removal of overgrown vegetation was all that is needed, Baildon WaW volunteers have been out with their strimmers and secateurs. We have tried to be responsive to issues raised by local walkers eg fallen tree/overgrown paths. Looking to the future, the Baildon WaW Committee has prioritised (and earmarked some funds from sales of our publications) to:
- The creation of a 200 yard stretch of footpath along the busy Bingley Road above Reeva Reservoir (on the Welcome Way, Millenium Way and Dales Highway routes) in co-operation with Bradford Council Highways Dept. This draws on the experience and contacts of Burley Walkers are Welcome who worked with Highways Department to develop at path along the roadside from Burley Woodhead to the next corner on the way to Ilkley.
- Co-operation with the Countryside Service to reopen a right of way from below Moorside to Tong Cricket Ground and reservoir (Baildon WaW to strim and Countryside Service to surface currently impassable boggy area).
- Improvements to the stepping-stones across Gill Beck below Moorside.