Muckhart Village from Seamab

Slow Ways Initiative

Clackmannanshire Council recently confirmed its support for the Slow Ways initiative and the Traffic & Transportation team has adopted Slow Ways as an external resource in its latest Active Travel Action Plan. MCC welcomes and supports this development.

Amongst other ideas, the Active Travel Action Plan sets out the plans for inter-community routes for active travel, off our roads, and part of this process will involve identifying and testing various walking and cycling routes and options. This is where Slow Ways – and you – can have an important role to play. Your support and local knowledge can make the Council’s task easier and more informed. So, what is the Slow Ways initiative?

Slow‌ ‌Ways‌ ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌ambitious‌ initiative‌ to‌ ‌create‌ ‌a‌ ‌comprehensive‌ ‌network‌ ‌of walking‌ ‌routes‌ ‌that‌ ‌connect‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌Britain’s‌ ‌cities‌ ‌and‌ ‌towns‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌thousands‌ ‌of‌ ‌villages. 700 volunteers completed a first draft mapping of the Slow Ways network during the Spring 2020 lockdown. The organisers are now looking for 10,000 volunteers to help walk, review, record and improve the Slow Ways routes.

Each Slow Way route connects two neighbouring settlements and routes can be combined for longer journeys. As far as possible, routes are direct, off-road, safe, accessible, easily navigable and pass through settlements with services and public transport hubs. The Slow Ways network – through its unique approach to plotting, mapping and recording routes – aims to make it easier for people to see, plan, enjoy and share walks between places.

Slow‌ ‌Ways‌ ‌will be used for both recreational and functional purposes, aiming to offer‌ reasonably direct walking options backed by trusted route information. This will include walking‌ ‌to ‌visit ‌friends‌ ‌and‌ ‌family, ‌travelling to meetings, going to shops, pilgrimages, charity fundraisers or travelling ‌to‌ ‌school‌ ‌or‌ work.

A large number of potential benefits have been identified by volunteers, partners and backers in developing the Slow Ways initiative. These include, but are not limited to:

Health benefits
• ‌improving ‌health‌ ‌and‌ ‌wellbeing‌ ‌by‌ ‌encouraging‌ ‌physical‌ ‌activity‌ ‌for‌ ‌short‌ ‌trips‌ and ‌longer journeys ‌
• helping to mitigate the causes and effects of Covid-19, being part of recovery plans, and offering public transport alternatives
• creating opportunities for people to connect with friends, family and colleagues

Environmental benefits
• reducing ‌pollution and ‌emissions‌ through active travel options as an alternative to carbon-based transport
• contributing to the decarbonisation of local and national transport systems and helping to address the climate emergency
• connecting people to ‘nearby nature’, heritage, places and communities

Transport benefits
• encouraging modal shift – supporting more people to walk more of the time, for more purposes
• providing ‌safe, ‌direct‌ ‌and‌ ‌enjoyable‌ ‌routes‌ ‌between neighbouring‌ ‌towns‌ ‌and‌ ‌cities
• linking active travel to public transport hubs
• promoting greater use of existing paths, trails, networks, and the connections between them

Economic benefits
• saving people money by encouraging ‌an‌ ‌inexpensive‌ ‌form of travels
• spreading economic activity by inspiring visits to, and stays in, more places

Community benefits
• sharing a positive, empowering, rewarding and inclusive project at a time of national crisis and recovery
• offering a source of community‌ engagement, focus, ‌identity‌ ‌and‌ ‌pride‌
• ‌boosting the equity of use of path networks
• increasing the use of currently under-used paths – thereby keeping them open and valued

 

Further Information

Web – slowways.uk

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Newsletter – slowways.uk

Twitter – @SlowWays, #SlowWays

Contact – hello@slowways.uk

 

References
– Ledbury Town Council was the first to officially support Slow Ways. 20 July 2020 Report, with Recommendation “that Ledbury Town Council promote the Slow Ways Project within Ledbury in the hope that groups and individuals will get involved with the project”.

The Clerk magazine ‘for Local Council professionals’: ‘Creating a new national walking network’, November 2020, page 61.

BBC News, 16 Oct 2020 – Slow Ways “seeks to elevate the position of walking in our national conversation, to be seen not just as a worthy, healthy hobby but part of our national transport infrastructure” – and ITV News, 16 Oct 2020.

About Mike Wilson