To gain Walkers are Welcome accreditation our villages must satisfy the National Committee that they satisfy the following six criteria.
1. Demonstration of popular local support for the concept.
This could be demonstrated, for example, by signatures of local residents and businesses, collected on a petition. Recommended minimum support would be 5% of the local population.
2. Formal endorsement of the application for Walkers are Welcome status by the local council
This could be demonstrated by the local council (unitary, district and/or town council) passing a resolution in support of the local organising committee or community group, perhaps nominating a councillor or councillors to become members of the committee or group and by allocating a small budget in support of the group’s work.
3. Action to ensure that rights of way are maintained in good condition
This could be demonstrated by the local council and/or voluntary group making a commitment to walk all paths in the parish at least once a year and ensure any obstacles are removed promptly and that other problem are reported to the local Rights of Way officer.
4. Adequate marketing of Walkers are Welcome status
This could be demonstrated in a number of ways. These include: press coverage;
signage in the centre of town; waymarked walks starting from town centre; leaflets readily available; local shops encouraged to display Walkers are Welcome stickers. It is important that the WaW logo is used on all publications, websites etc.
5. Encouragement of walking using public transport
This could be demonstrated, for example, by including clear public transport advice on marketing leaflets or by providing ‘bus/train out – walk back’ leaflets. Some towns have successfully worked with bus companies to promote the walking opportunities to bus users. It is appreciated that some smaller towns or villages do not have a public transport network, but some have found innovative ways to utilise nearby transport links.
6. Demonstration of mechanisms in place to maintain Walkers are Welcome status
This could be demonstrated by the creation of a local Walkers are Welcome steering group or advisory board of a reasonable size, which meets regularly and ensures the group submits an annual return and pays the annual membership fee.
There are many ways to interpret and satisfy the 6 criteria and this is one of the many good things about the scheme – every town and village can be different.