Reclaim Places for Communities

Throughout Britain and beyond there are many examples of projects and initiatives that have made neighbourhoods better for walking.

The three case studies below briefly describe some of the improvements that have been achieved to work with communities to design and maintain green routes and spaces open to all, in the hope that it will provide inspiration for others.

Importantly, "reclaim spaces for communities" is the fifth of our five Charter for Walking Neighbourhood asks. We hope that the case studies below will show tangible examples of how local authorities and community groups can work together to implement our Charter asks - and create neighbourhoods that truly put people walking first.

Case study 1: The Capital Ring Rangers and London Loop Leaders schemes 

Reclaim spaces for communities through volunteer maintenance and promotion of leisure routes.

Six people standing beside a canal, on the path

In coordination with the Greater London Authority, local Ramblers’ groups in London have launched new volunteer schemes to help maintain, improve and promote two of the most popular walking routes in London - the Capital Ring and the London Loop.

Over 100 volunteers have put themselves forward to be guardian rangers or leaders for sections of these long-distance orbital footpaths around London.

The volunteers will highlight improvements that can be made to the routes to borough councils and will work to publicise them more widely both locally for each section and across London.

Find out more

Launch of new London volunteer schemes

Case study 2: Incredible Edible, Todmorden

Reclaim spaces for communities by encouraging community gardening.

An allotment, as seen from above

Incredible Edible is a local gardening initiative. It started with the simple idea that taking control of local streets and public spaces through gardening could help build stronger communities.

Growing vegetables and fruit trees in public spaces created a new way for people to connect with their neighbours and gave a welcome boost to the identity and economy of Todmorden. Starting with small herb gardens and community plots in Todmorden, Incredible Edible went on to work with local businesses, the health centre and schools.

It has led to an increase in tourism, local food start-ups and new research and innovation initiatives. It has influenced the thinking of housing associations, which have changed their rules to allow tenants to keep chickens, as well as the local council, which now allows anyone to apply for a licence to plant on council land.

The outcome is free veg, less waste, less unemployment and a stronger community.

Find out more

Incredible Edible community in Todmorden  

Case study 3: ‘Wijkwandelingen’ - neighbourhoods walks, the Netherlands

Reclaim spaces for communities by supporting community maintenance of neighbourhood routes.

In a town near the Hague in the Netherlands, local residents come together every 3 months for a a wijkwandeling – a neighbourhood walk.

Together, they visit problematic areas and discuss what action should be taken. Any resident can turn up and take part, and about ten to fifteen participants of all ages and social groups usually come along. If possible, problems like straightening a crooked signpost or fix or a request for action is sent to the municipality via a community action list.

The walks have helped to build community cohesion and combat loneliness.

Find out more

Can local walking groups help solve urban issues? 

What do you think?

Do you have any examples of where places have been reclaimed for the community? If so, we'd love to hear from you: get in touch at campaign@ramblers.org.uk

Wildflower meadow with a signpostMake Neighbourhoods Green

Discover what we mean by our first Charter ask "make neighbourhoods green" by exploring case studies of places & projects which have ensured everyone has access to high quality green spaces.

A woman walking along an urban path with a garden wall and shrubsCreate a Network of Green Walking Routes

Discover what we mean by our second Charter ask "create a network of green walking routes" by exploring case studies of places & projects which have built a network of green walking routes connecting people to the places they want to go.

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Discover what we mean by our third Charter ask "prioritise pedestrians" by exploring case studies of places & projects which make walking the easy way to travel around towns and cities.

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