Here is some information about a new project called Slow Ways, shared by one of our members, Brigid Haines.
Although not part of Living Streets, Slow Ways will be of interest to walkers and those interested in the benefits it can bring to us all.
We’re making a people-powered walking network for Great Britain and we need all the help we can get!
The basic principle behind the Slow Ways project is that we should be able to walk reasonably directly, safely, easily and enjoyably between neighbouring settlements. We should also be able to combine Slow Ways routes for longer walks if we want to too. Being able to do this will lead to more people walking, more often, for more reasons and more purposes.
We’ve made a great start. During lockdown 700 volunteers drafted over 7,000 Slow Ways routes that connect all of Great Britain’s towns and cities as well as thousands of villages.
We are focussed on Great Britain for now, but plan to collaborate with people on Ireland next.
The next challenge is to walk, test, review, record, verify and enjoy all of the Slow Ways routes that have been drafted.
That means checking over 100,000km of routes, the equivalent of walking 2.5 times around the equator.
This sounds like a big job, but shared between 10,000 volunteers – individuals, established groups, new groups and collaborators – we’d need to walk an average of just 10km each. We could do that over a weekend…right?
Work in progress and next steps
We are currently developing a website that will host all of the Slow Ways routes. This website will enable anyone to search, browse, share and download any of the Slow Ways routes for free. It will also handle thousands of people reviewing, verifying and sharing routes on an ongoing basis.
We want the website to be available as soon as possible, but it’s going to be a few weeks yet as we put funding in place to support the project and develop the website.
There are some things you can do to help now though.
- Know someone who likes walking? Please invite them to sign-up!
- Are you a member of a group that might be up for checking a Slow Way route? Let us know by registering your group here.
- Connections with your local council? Ledbury Town Council was the first to officially support Slow Ways, passing a council motion to promote the project to local residents. Why not ask your civil, parish, town or local council to support the project too?
If you can’t wait to get started (we don’t blame you), help to spread the word by going on a walk between two towns, cities or villages. Share your journey using the hashtag #SlowWays – say where it is, and perhaps why you walked it. If you are on Twitter tag us @SlowWaysUK.
Got more questions? Please read our FAQs.
We will not email often. When we do we’ll have something to say, so please do open our newsletters when they land in your inbox. For more frequent updates and informal sharing please see our Twitter stream.
Our team is a small one, thank you for your patience as we pull this big project together.
And thanks so much for your interest and enthusiasm – to date and in the coming months. We’ll be back in contact again when we have more to report. We might like slow things, but we can’t wait to get going!