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June newsletter

10th June, 2021 by Cristie Moore

With the summer months upon us, light evenings and a focus on home turf for holidays it’s an ideal time to check out Slow Ways across Great Britain. Whether looking to see what’s local or planning adventurous longer journeys, it’s a great time to join thousands of others in exploring Slow Ways and helping to create a national network of walking routes.

Here’s a news update from the past few weeks. You can view this email in your browser.

Slow Ways in numbers

After six weeks of walking and reviewing Slow Ways the scores on the doors are in!

Supporters of Slow Ways have gone to great lengths – literally, in some cases - to contribute by walking routes, taking the time to leave a review or submitting a survey. Thanks for all your inputs and efforts to get Slow Ways off to a flying start.

An amazing 7,789 routes have been contributed to form the Slow Ways network. Over 1,200 reviews have been posted and 14,000km of routes reviewed. The process of route verification (each needing 3 affirmative responses) is kicking in with 13 fully verified and 869 verified once. Over 1,100 people have completed online survey training, with 277 route surveys submitted. Downloaded routes cover a distance of over 76,000km.

Waylists – your very own walking route ‘playlists’ (or mix-tapes if you prefer) – number 2,186 with an average of three routes collated on each. We’d love to see more of these. Please do share them on social media using the hashtag #SlowWays.

To read more about this early mix of metrics, click here.

How you can help

You can help create a trusted national network of routes by simply walking or wheeling and reviewing a route. Individually or as a group, why not:

  • walk and review all of the routes out of your town or nearest settlement
  • plan and walk a Slow Ways triangle using three connected routes
  • take one Slow Ways route to a neighbouring settlement returning a different way, creating a new route in the process

On Twitter? Help us reach more people with this call to walk by sharing this tweet.

Respond to our short poll

Tell us what you think of Slow Ways by responding to this short anonymous poll. Your responses will help us to make Slow Ways better.

‘Slow Ways Voices’ captured in short films

Meet Cherelle, Josh, Mahroof and Belal, Charlotte, Colleen and Jasmine as they share their motivations for journeying on foot in six 1-2-minute films. They’ve been created by two film-makers as part of a Sport England project to hear from different people who are using Slow Ways for different reasons.

Slow Ways Voices

Nico Hambleton took his camera for 5 separate Slow Ways walks and conversations. The result is a portfolio of one minute ‘Slow Ways Voices’ films set from South London to Stratford-upon-Avon to the Shropshire Hills, referencing Rastafarianism, canal-side coot-snapping and a new Wellbeing Wanderers inclusive walking group. “Capturing a suite of individual snapshots has been a great way to see a variety of personal interpretations, inspirations, and benefits that walking more can bring to everyone,” said Nico.

Henry Iddon focused on Josh, rapper by night, outdoor instructor by day. To get from home in Barrow-in-Furness to meet up with fellow musicians near Dalton, he’s taking the Slow Ways route. Why? “The rhythm of the walking…it helps me connect to the rhythm of the music.” Josh’s own Lake District-inspired ‘Great District’, with lyrics referencing Wainwright and Windermere, features as the backing track. Film-maker Henry said “Josh was a great character to film – as passionate about where he lives as he is about music. To spend time with him exploring how walking can be part of everyday activity for young people in Cumbria was a real pleasure.”

Read the full story here.

In the news

Slow Ways has been in the news in recent weeks. Click on each to read more.

Slow Ways project shows how covid made us re-think urban environment | The Scotsman, Roger Cox ‘Final Words’ column, 29 May

The plan to connect every British town | BBC Travel, Jessica Vincent, 5 May

Benefits of being active in nature | Sport England, Delia Beck and Suzie Gittus, 12 May

Key website developments

We’ve been listening to all the great feedback that you’ve been providing. The biggest recent improvement is the ability to add up to 15 photos as part of a route review or route addition. Routes that don’t merit verification can be flagged for safety, drawing or access issues.

The ability to search for a place using What3Words has been added and you can see the start and end points for a route in the Geography tab (along with their W3W locations).

You can now see a table of which routes have been reviewed or surveyed for a location by viewing its Place page. Lichfield is a great example - scroll down to see that every route from the city has been reviewed at least once. Similar tables for counties are being developed so you’ll be able to see which routes have been reviewed across wider areas. These tables are a great way to see which routes need to be reviewed and where.

Reviews and surveys

Lots of you have been leaving route reviews full of great information and insights, and helping to verify which routes should be included in a trusted network. In addition, detailed surveys are regularly being submitted, after a short on-line training session.

Here’s a couple of examples:

  • The Hitlet one route (Hitchen to Letchworth) has 4 reviews, 4 stars, and a tick in its snail shell - meaning it’s been verified as a trusted Slow Ways route. Walk in single file under the bridge!
  • survey of Wookid one (Woodstock - Kidlington) by Lodge101 includes information and photos highlighting facilities, challenges and obstacles. And a detailed photo survey of Warsaw one (Ware to Sawbridgeworth) by user v199629 focuses on the accessibility of the route.

Thank you

Behind every review and survey is a journey - mostly enjoyable, we hope, but some aren’t without challenges and complications. Every kilometre walked and wheeled is helping to establish a national network of trusted routes between towns and cities.

Please keep on making valued contributions by reviewing, surveying and enjoying Slow Ways. We do hope that you get outside to enjoy a Slow Ways journey soon.

Keep Exploring!

Slow Ways snail

The Slow Ways Team

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