There’s now just one week left to nominate your local area for the Ramblers’ second annual Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award. We’re looking for the places in England, Scotland and Wales that are designed for walkers and which encourage people to go about their everyday lives on foot.
Imagine if the neighbourhoods where we live and work truly put walkers first. If everyone’s natural impulse whenever they set off on a journey was to walk, from doing the school run, to running errands and commuting every day, or visiting friends, getting fresh air and exploring the local area.
We want to give people of all ages and from all backgrounds the opportunities to enjoy and benefit from walking outdoors, wherever they live and work.
By walking regularly, communities across Britain would become happier, healthier and better connected to each other. People could discover green spaces, explore new areas and take different journeys, deepening their ties to a local area and beyond.
That’s why the Ramblers are campaigning to ensure that the neighbourhoods in which we live and work are designed for walkers, encouraging people to go about their everyday lives on foot.
Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood 2019
Through Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood, we are celebrating local authorities, developers, individuals and communities that have made positive changes to help make neighbourhoods more walkable – from making routes and public spaces greener, to building mixed-use developments that encourage active travel, to improving the way local streets connect people to the places they want to go.
Nominations are open until 17th March, so if your neighbourhood is green, walkable and welcoming, nominate it today at www.ramblers.org.uk/nominate
A final shortlist of ten neighbourhoods, to go to a public vote, will be chosen by an expert panel. The panel will be chaired by the Ramblers’ chief executive, Vanessa Griffiths, and includes:
• Fiona Howie, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association
• Susan Claris, associate director of Arup
• Maxwell Ayamba, projects co-ordinator at Sheffield Environmental Network
• Lucy Saunders, public health consultant who developed the Healthy Streets Approach
• Anthony Slack, ex-town planner, and Ramblers volunteer who nominated 2018 Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood winner, Hastings
• Dr Ruth Hussey CB, OBE, independent public health consultant and ex-chief medical officer for Wales
• Craig Maclaren, chair of the Scottish national walking strategy delivery forum and director of Scotland and Ireland in RTPI
• Dan Raven-Ellison, guerrilla geographer and founder of London National Park City
What makes a good walking neighbourhood?
A neighbourhood is any district, community or area where people live and work - it could be the heart of a big city, or a small village with just a few streets and houses.
Our expert panel will be looking for interventions and innovations that have made every day journeys more walkable, and will judge against three main criteria:
Green: Does it have good quality green spaces with easy links to housing? Do streets and other public spaces have plantings or other welcoming natural features?
Walkable: Is it easy to walk to everyday local shops and services? Is there a network of well-connected walking routes? Is it easy to cross the road safely and directly? For longer journeys, are there attractive public transport options and a good cycle network?
Welcoming: Are pavements accessible, well maintained, wide and clutter free? Are there attractive public spaces, places to sit and chat and play and interesting things to see and do? Are there measures to reduce or slow motor traffic?
Nominations are open for one more week – the deadline is March 17. Anyone can submit a nomination, so do have a think about your own neighbourhood and whether it is good for walking. It just might be crowned Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood this summer!
Find out more and nominate at www.ramblers.org.uk/nominate
Oliver Hicks-Pattison, Senior Campaigns and Engagement Officer, The Ramblers
The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.
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