Clare celebrates launch as official ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town

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The formal launch of Clare as an officially-accredited Walkers are Welcome town took place last week.

Approximately 60 people, including South Suffolk Member of Parliament James Cartlidge, representatives from Ramblers, One Life Suffolk, Nordic Walking East Anglia and other partner organisations, attended a lunch at the Bell Hotel on Market Hill on Friday.

This was followed by a walk around Clare taking in key heritage assets.

Clare was the first town in west Suffolk to gain the award, when it was presented in October, and was the second in Suffolk to be given the accolade, following Shotley’s accreditation in March.

Walkers are Welcome status is awarded to towns and villages that support walkers by meeting national criteria, such as producing leaflets, maps and other information, organising walks, helping to maintain footpaths and ensuring that local cafes, pubs, shops and bed-and-breakfasts all give walkers a warm welcome.

The lunch was preceded by a meeting – which was facilitated by the Green Access team at Suffolk County Council – of the Suffolk Walkers are Welcome Alliance, which includes Snape, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, who are working towards accreditation, as well as Shotley, Clare and Eye.

Derek Blake, the chairman of the Clare Walkers community group, said: “It was lovely to take time out to celebrate the fruits of all the hard work put in by the local community. The countryside around Clare is a wonderful place to walk.

“This award is recognition that people will be well looked after when they visit.”

Walkers are Welcome CIC is a national charity that runs the Walkers are Welcome scheme.