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Newtown walking and cycling project helping health and wellbeing

Lots of people have been enjoying walking together, thanks to an initiative by Open Newtown, a not-for-profit community enterprise.

Since January, at 10am every Thursday and Saturday, people have walked and talked together around Newtown’s green spaces and other paths.

One participant said “Excellent. Very sociable. I’ve seen parts of Newtown I’ve never seen before.” Another commented “Excellent, we all think it’s excellent.”

Ruth Stafford, Open Newtown’s Lower Carbon, Active Travel officer, said: “The weather hasn’t always been inviting, but participants have got some fresh air, exercise and sunlight. Conversations have been very varied and friendly.

“These weekly walks will continue every Thursday and Saturday in March, from the white building at the top of Newtown’s main car park. Everyone is welcome.”

People have ventured a little further on the last Sunday of the month, starting at 10am from Newtown’s Town Clock and returning around noon. On Sunday, March 29, the 3.6-mile walk will go up the Severn Way, taking in great views, then back to the Town Clock.

For details, please see the ‘Severn Way Circuit’, walk 11, at http://newtown.org.uk/pages/the-walks , along with other great walks worked on by Walking Newtown’s brilliant volunteers.

Open Newtown has also organised cycle rides, whatever the weather. Tom Chandler, cycle leader, said: “Anybody wishing to take an easy bike ride with others is invited to meet at the white building at the top of Newtown’s main car park at 10am every Tuesday in March.”

If your bike needs repairs before you join an Open Newtown cycle ride, you can take it to Bike to the Future, alongside Cultivate’s Community Garden, Men in Sheds and Skillshop. Turn off the Llanidloes Road roundabout towards the college and Theatre Hafren, then immediately right and first left. Free repairs are available for cycle ride participants only.

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Work to make the walks and cycle rides happen has been funded by Powys’s Regional Partnership Board for Health & Social Care’s Social Development Fund. The fund is administered by PAVO, and aimed at improving health and wellbeing, which walking and cycling certainly do.

In April, walks and bike rides will be led by volunteers. If interest continues beyond April, which is likely, it is hoped that volunteers will continue to lead them. Information will be made available nearer the time.

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