A PUBLIC meeting was held on Wednesday to gauge public support for Henley to become a
A PUBLIC meeting was held on Wednesday to gauge public support for Henley to become a Walkers Are Welcome town.
The status is awarded to towns which have something special to offer walkers.
The town council hosted the meeting at the town hall and the main speaker was Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Henley-based Open Spaces Society and patron of the Walkers Are Welcome Towns Network.
She said: “Henley has much to offer walkers. Two long-distance paths, the Thames Path national trail and the Oxfordshire Way pass through the town. It is on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the hub of a rich network of well-marked paths. There are many welcoming cafes, hotels, bed and breakfasts and pubs.
“Walkers Are Welcome status would strengthen Henley’s reputation as a place for visitors to come and enjoy the outdoors. It would benefit the town’s businesses — walkers in the English countryside spend around £6billion a year, generating more than £2billion in income and supporting up to 245,000 full-time jobs. It might also provide leverage for an improvement to public transport since Walkers Are Welcome encourages the use of buses and trains by walkers.
“It is great that the town council and other organisations are on board. They need to gather support from about five per cent of the population.
“Other requirements are a commitment to ensuring that the local path network will be maintained in good condition.”