Aberystwyth has received the ‘Best in Wales’ award in the Ramblers Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award 2019, following a public vote to find the most walker-friendly neighbourhood in the UK.
The coastal town was the only Welsh neighbourhood to make it through to the final ten shortlisted areas - whittled down by an expert panel from over 80 nominations all over England Scotland and Wales - earning it the title of ‘Best Walking Neighbourhood in Wales’. It also came fourth in the public vote to choose the overall winner in Britain, with an impressive 15 per cent of the vote.
Dwynwen Belsey, from Aberystwyth Ramblers, who nominated her home town for the award, said: “It’s fantastic that Aberystwyth has been recognised as the Best Walking Neighbourhood in Wales. It really is a great place to get around on foot, with fantastic traffic-free routes and such a variety of scenery to keep things interesting as you walk around, from park and woodland to the Wales Coast Path. I hope it can be an inspiration for communities and councils across Wales and the UK to make changes that make their neighbourhoods better for walking.”
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.
Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru, said: “Congratulations to Aberystwyth, a very worthy Best Walking Neighbourhood in Wales. Our vision is of a country truly designed for walking, where everyone is encouraged to walk whenever they set out on a journey, whether they are popping to the shops or just out for some fresh air. Aberystwyth is a fantastic example of how this can be achieved.
“Walkable neighbourhoods bring not only the physical and mental health benefits of walking and being able to access green space; places where people walk regularly also have more connected communities. Making it easy to choose walking over driving helps to reduce congestion and improve air quality too, bringing us one step closer to our zero emissions target.”
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 Best Walking Neighbourhood Award, now in its second year, celebrates the best of everyday walking; neighbourhoods where local authorities and community groups have improved local streets and routes for walking and with good access to green space. Falkirk took first place in the public vote to be named Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood 2019, while south London neighbourhood of Brockley took second place and Milton Keynes came in third.
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.
To find out more about the Charter for Walkable Neighbourhoods, visit: www.ramblers.org.uk/walkingneighbourhoods.