- Ramblers launches public vote to find Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood – Aberystwyth on final shortlist of ten
- Making walking the easy choice in urban areas helps tackle pollution and improve physical and mental health of communities, says walking charity
Aberystwyth in Ceredigion is in the running for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood 2019, as the Ramblers reveal their final shortlist of the ten most walkable urban areas across England, Scotland and Wales.
At a time when 47% of people in Wales are still not meeting recommended activity levels1 and concerns about air pollution levels hit the headlines on a weekly basis, the Ramblers is calling on local authorities to help tackle these problems by creating towns and cities designed for walking.
Their annual award celebrates areas where positive steps have been taken to create green, welcoming and walkable neighbourhoods that put people - rather than cars - at their heart, leading to increased activity, and the health, social and economic benefits this brings to individuals and communities, while also combatting poor air quality.
The ancient market town in Ceredigion on the west Wales coast was shortlisted for it’s great rural and urban mix and its easy access to green spaces and the seafront. Good public transport links and traffic calming interventions add to its pedestrian-friendly plaudits. Walking routes across the town lend themselves to walkers of all ages and abilities. The promenade, harbour and Plas Crug Avenue make attractive and accessible short walking routes, whilst nearby Penglas Woods and Constitution Hill - with direct access to the Wales Coast Path - offer a challenge for more adventurous walkers.
Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive of the Ramblers, said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of walking and being outdoors, wherever they live and work. Our finalists this year are fantastic examples of how communities and local authorities can work together to create neighbourhoods that are designed around people, making them enjoyable and safe to walk around. We want to councils and developers across the country to follow their example and help us create a country that is truly designed for walking.”
Dwynwen Belsey, from Aberystwyth Ramblers, said: “The great thing about Aberystwyth is that you can walk almost anywhere you want to go, and most of the time you can also find a traffic-free route. What I love about walking here is the diversity, we have the coast and the Wales Coast Path, fantastic views of the town from Constitution Hill as well as woodland, parkland, the harbour and the town itself. I’d encourage everyone to vote for Aberystwyth as Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood!”
Other pedestrian-friendly features and initiatives that made Aberystwyth stand out among the nominations include:
- Active travel improvements completed in 2018, including an improved shared use path along Boulevard St Brieuc
- A traffic-free cycle and pedestrian route all along Plascrug avenue
- A one-way system through much of the town, with traffic calming measures in place.
The Ramblers is also asking councillors to sign up to their Charter for Walkable Neighbourhoods, which sets out five things that councils can do to make neighbourhoods better for walking. One of the top priorities is to make neighbourhoods greener, with the ambition that everyone should have a quality park or green space within five minutes’ walk of their doorstep.
The ten areas in the running for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood are:
- Chorlton, Greater Manchester
- Bow and Three Mills, London
- Greater Brockley, London
- The Deepings, Lincolnshire
- Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
- Cambridge city centre
- Milton Keynes
- Brighton City Centre
To find out more about the ten shortlisted areas and to vote for your favourite before the closing date of 30 June, visit: www.ramblers.org.uk/vote
*1 Valuing our health Chief Medical Officer for Wales Annual Report 2018/19