Glorious Bank Holiday weather heralded the official launch of Montgomery Trails on May 5.
The launch of the 11 walking, cycling and family-friendly quiz trail routes was a celebration of an enormous amount of work to make the town’s wonderful heritage and surrounding countryside more accessible to visitors and residents alike.
The project was undertaken by Walkers are Welcome, the Vale of Montgomery Cluster volunteers, officers from Countryside Services and Destination Montgomery community members.
Supported by Arwain, part of the European Rural Development Programme in Wales and a Big Lottery Awards for All grant, the project has drawn together local organisations, businesses and the community to produce the attractive and detailed trail guides.
The project has two clear goals: to create a resource that will develop the sustainability of the local area and to promote and encourage the enjoyment of the outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages and abilities.
Montgomery gained Walkers are Welcome accreditation in 2016 and in 2017 declared itself a Healthy Life Town – Fit for Everyone!
A coffee and cake reception, hosted by Mayor Councillor Lionel Weaver, was held as a thank you to invited guests whose contribution had been vital to the project’s success.
Attendees included Glyn Davies, MP, Sam Lloyd-Clayton from the Powys County Council Economic Regeneration Team, Powys County Councillor Cllr Stephen Hayes, Brett Kibble of Walkers are Welcome and Dr Patricia Lindsay from Montgomery Medical Centre, as well as representatives from the Vale of Montgomery Rural Cluster of Councils and local businesses.
Mr Davies was very impressed with the Montgomery Trails initiative and was keen to promote it further afield, posting about it on his Facebook page and taking leaflets with him. He hopes to include the Montgomery Trails as an example in a question in Parliament during Wales Tourism Week.
Mrs Lloyd-Clayton collected a batch of trail guides and a poster to display at the forthcoming Royal Welsh Spring Festival.
“These leaflets are also a useful resource when trying to attract people to come to Powys to live and work and to assist with the economic growth in the area,” she said.
“We welcome this sort of information when attracting new skills and improving well-being within the area.”
As soon as Town Crier, Sue Blower, had made the public proclamation of the launch, visitors flocked to the Trail Information Point staffed by members of the Walkers are Welcome group including chair, Jill Kibble.
They gave out trail guides and had many positive conversations with visitors, several of whom run accommodation businesses locally.
The two family–friendly quiz trails proved very popular and participants were encouraged to submit their entries to a special launch day draw.
Nicky Markham, whose children Sam and Amelia were joint winners of the Historic Town Quiz Trail draw, said:
“It’s a great little trail. Despite having lived here for a number of years, we found a secret pathway we didn’t know existed and learned a few previously unknown facts along the way.
“The route took us via plenty of places to stop and take in the finest Montgomery has to offer – wonderful views and the chance for liquid refreshment at the inns along the way. A well-planned trail for all the family. We’re looking forward to taking friends along the new walking and cycle routes in the coming summer months.”
Trail guides are available from a range of outlets within Montgomery and from Welshpool Tourist Information Centre. They can also be downloaded in pdf format from www.montgomery-trails.co.uk. Quiz trails can be bought for £1.50 from cafés and businesses within the town.