Walking and Cycling

Free weekly walks and cycle rides in January, February and March 2020. Walks every Thursday and Saturday plus the last Sunday of the month. Cycle rides every Tuesday. Open to all, helping all ages and abilities get moving. 

Newtown has areas of high deprivation. Obesity and inactivity is more likely in areas of high deprivation. Both can negatively affect wellbeing.  

Physical activity and social interaction improve everyone’s health and wellbeing. Walking and cycling reduce emissions (harmful to human health, our environment and our climate), noise pollution and congestion. Other benefits include reducing travel expenditure and increasing independence. 

Benefits / Impact 

Increasing walking and cycling leads to better physical and mental health, less air pollution, less noise pollution, lower carbon emissions, better knowledge of areas, better perception of safety amongst other walkers and cyclists, reduced travel costs, increased speed of travel (in some cases), increased uptake in other physical activities, more social interaction with neighbours, improved community feel, better road safety (as long as speeds do not increase), reduced congestion, reduced car ownership (and mining for manufacturing materials), reduced road maintenance and associated costs and other benefits.

Further information

This project has now ended, but we’re still investigating ways in which we can relaunch guided walks / cycle rides for various groups.

Working in partnership 

Open Newtown is working with partners to make Newtown a safer and more accessible place to walk and ride.  

This project involved consultating and working with Walking Newtown, Bike To The Future, PAVO (including the Community Connectors’ group of Community Workers), Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council, Powys County CouncilSiawns Teg, Park Run Newtown, Powys Teaching Health Board, Newtown Health Workers, Pont Hafren, Kaleidoscope, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown Methodist Church, Llys Glanyrafon and other local organisations 

What’s happened so far 

  • January to March 2019. Open Newtown surveyed 620 people in Newtown about what would encourage them to walk and cycle more (and what discourages them). Results were shared with relevant organisations and decision makers. Extra walking routes were added to Walking Newtown’s online walks list. 
  • In January, February and early March 2020: 
  • Walks every Thursday and Saturday for about an hour at a relaxed pace 
  • Longer walks on the last Sunday of the month (just in January and February in the end). Using ‘Walking Newtown’ routes. 
  • Cycle rides every Tuesday. 
  • Stick Man Trail in February half term. 

Costs & Funding 

Part-time Project Officer who led walks and cycle rides, plus a Walk Leader and a Cycle Leader. Funded by the Social Value Development Fund, which is administered by Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) (who supported the project). 

Addressing concerns  

The walks were for people of all abilities. They were on flat terrain when there was a participant who needed to go on the flat (e.g. who was in a wheelchair). The cycle rides would have welcomed people on tricycles. Unfortunately, there were none for participants to borrow. There was one enquiry about this, from someone who had their own tricycle, but did not attend in the end (due to Covid 19 concerns).  

Revised plans 

Depending upon the Covid19 situation, walks and cycle rides will be held regularly from August 2020. Details will be placed on our website, facebook and twitter nearer to the time, along with posters around Newtown and phone calls to previous participants to help spread the word. 

Alignment to National, County and local strategy 

This work has supported the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Strategy, which is implemented by Powys County Council and supported by Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn town council. All recognise the many benefits of increasing walking and cycling. 

Open Newtown’s Lower Carbon, Active Travel Officer has a good relationship with Powys County Councils Active Travel Officer and Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn town council’s Place Plan Officer. Communications have been positive and mutually beneficial. They share an optimistic outlook about the future of walking and cycling in Newtown. 

Future additions 

Please see ‘Revised Plans’. Also, in future, walks and cycle rides may go over Newtown’s planned Walk/Cycle bridge (from near Canal Road to next to the Rugby Club). Cycle rides could involve hire bikes, as Open Newtown hopes to provide hire bikes in future.  

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