The Ramblers Cymru Awards
Celebrating efforts to put walking at the heart of communities
About the awards
On 30 March 2023, the Ramblers Cymru Awards celebrated the efforts of members and volunteers who put walking at the heart of Welsh communities. We gathered at Canada Lodge in one of our Paths to Wellbeing communities, Pentyrch, to recognise the wonderful members and volunteers we have in Wales.
Heart of the Community
This award was to celebrate the Paths to Wellbeing community that’s made the biggest difference, be that through path maintenance, litter picking, hosting/attending, or engaging with the most community events.
Our winners: Treherbert Community and The Welcome to Our Woods team
The winning team and their passionate volunteers are striving to make their valley not only a wonderful place to live, but a destination for walkers to visit. They were keen to invest in local people even before becoming a Paths to Wellbeing community, hosting woodland therapy and skills sessions. And it’s safe to say they’ve taken their enthusiasm to a new level through the project.
Together, this community has run several local guided walks in the area as part of the project. They have also joined forces with the South Wales Fire and Rescue and Natural Resources Wales as part of the Healthy Hillside project, to create paths that prevent wildfires.
They have also been involved with invasive species sessions in partnership with their local council and Wildlife Trust, to name just a few activities…
These events are making local natural resources more useful and relevant to their community and have inspired many others to work together and get involved too.
Ramble and Scramble
A young member (under 25) who is active in the community, or an individual or group that goes the extra mile to engage youth walkers.
Our winner: Jamie Smith
The Ramble and Scramble award winner is a keen volunteer based in Flintshire. He cycles to and from volunteer work parties with his equipment and tools and promotes Ramblers Cymru events on his own social media pages. He works in the outdoors as a freelance gardener, providing landscaping and maintenance services at just 18 years old.
Our project officers have watched him come out of his shell as he’s turned his hand to installing benches, gates and waymark posts, learning new skills as he does so and chatting with other volunteers of all backgrounds and ages.
Many of the group now hire him to work in their own gardens, having come to know him and trust in his skills and expertise. It’s been a pleasure to watch these connections form and grow and shine a light on why engaging the next generation is essential for Welsh communities.
Our Shining Star
Inspiring, helpful, happy to share skills, and always cheering others on! Does this sound like a Ramblers Cymru member or volunteer you know? We want to hear all about them.
Our winner: Karen Harris
A champion for improving access for those with disabilities, this individual has been not only an inspiration but an extremely dedicated volunteer from the very start of the Paths to Wellbeing project. They always have a smile to share and are hugely enthusiastic with a passion for nature.
Always happy to share their knowledge and personal experiences, they’ve given the Ramblers Cymru team invaluable insight into the challenges faced in accessing green spaces for those with disabilities and restricted mobility.
Together, we’ve designed, surveyed, and created the route descriptions for our Accessible (and family-friendly) Paths to Wellbeing routes in Ystalyfera and Ystradgynlais. She’s an absolute asset to Ramblers Cymru, a joy to be around, and a powerful advocate for an accessible outdoors.
Is there a supportive individual, business or organisation in your community that consistently donates their time, money, or space to your Ramblers Cymru group? Think cafes, community halls, local businesses, or clubs that support your work, and give them a nomination!
Our winners: Sara and Gwion Evans – Llanbenwch Caravan Site (Vale of Clwyd)
The winner approached Ramblers Cymru as they envisioned their business becoming a community hub but were facing accessibility issues due to its proximity to a fast main road with no easy access to the local footpaths. They’d put up warning signs, but ultimately wanted a safer, long-term solution. A meeting was set up between all parties and it was agreed that a permissive footpath could be funded to create safe access on and off the site, connecting with the surrounding Rights of Way.
The creation of this path, as well as the winner’s determination, dedication, and positivity, has made a huge difference and led to many other developments in the area. They’ve been keen to help in any way with the Paths to Wellbeing project.
A few examples include hosting a bioblitz evening with the local Brownies and the local primary school for an activity day, and providing a base for the Vale of Clwyd Mind group walking event. They have been heavily involved in the tree planting efforts, getting stuck into the physical work and providing refreshments for the other volunteers.
Their positivity has even led to more local landowners, who seeing a rise in footfall because of the site, have connected with Ramblers Cymru and asked for help making improvements to the footpaths on their land.
A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words!
The Social Butterfly award will go to the group or individual that uses their social media platform to inform, entertain, motivate, and campaign with Ramblers Cymru related content, as well recruiting new members.
Our winners: Tiger Bay Ramblers group
The winners of this category effectively use their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms to document their walks and social activities, in addition to boosting Ramblers Cymru posts and campaigns.
They’ve also expanded their audience by effectively using a new social media platform, MeetUp, utilising short taster walks and engaging graphics.
The Golden Boot
We know that all of our volunteers are community heroes, but we want to hear about the absolute gem in your local Ramblers Cymru community.
Do you know an extremely dedicated member or a stand-out volunteer? A powerhouse who tackled a legal challenge or a story we should celebrate? The judges want to hear their stories!
Our winners: Kay and James Davies (Lampeter Teifi Valley Ramblers)
As well as being longstanding volunteers and members of the Lampeter Teifi Valley Ramblers group, where they deliver walks and help improve and maintain paths, both have taken on the task of being our lead volunteers for the Paths to Wellbeing project in Llanybydder.
Within their roles, they consistently go above and beyond to coordinate volunteer activities in the area, liaise with local landowners and go the extra mile to ensure a job is well done.
Recently, they undertook a mammoth task of clearing a huge amount of fly-tipping debris from a stream, which had caused the nearby footpath to flood. Clearing a small amount alleviated the flooding, but they didn’t rest until all the rubbish was removed and returned on another occasion equipped with wellies and tools to ensure the natural beauty spot was totally restored.