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Village where walkers are always welcome.

THEY offer free access to stunning scenery.

But footpaths are notoriously hard to maintain because of various problems.

Those include erosion, overgrown vegetation, flooding, illegal blockages by unscrupulous landowners and a host of other problems.

That's why Marsden Walkers Are Welcome (MWAW) was established by valley residents in 2010.

To achieve Walkers Are Welcome status, which is awarded by the Walkers are Welcome UK Network, a town must maintain its footpaths and encourage walking instead of using cars.

Funded by a series of grants from Kirklees Council, regional development agencies and other organisations, the group maintains, improves and promotes footpaths around Marsden.

MWAW, which works with Kirklees Public Right of Way Unit and the Ramblers' Association, has organised the repair and improvement of miles of footpaths around Marsden.

MWAW carries out surveys and organises volunteers, including scout groups and local businesses, as well as agencies to re-lay paths, erect signposts, improve drainage and make other improvements.

In January, MWAW surveyed 70 miles of footpaths around Marsden and found 19 stretches with severely overgrown vegetation, 23 sections of boggy path, 13 damaged stiles or gates, seven blocked paths, three informal diversions and other problems.

MWAW is currently organising remedial action to problems found in the survey and also finishing a wheelchair accessible walk near the Standedge Tunnel End.

MWAW secretary Diane Green said: "Footpaths provide free, healthy exercise for everyone.

"You can get out and enjoy the beautiful views that we have around Marsden.

"Some of the paths are in such bad condition and we don't want to lose them."

Ms Green added: "It's been a privilege to work with a dedicated band of people. The support from Kirklees Right of Way unit has been essential."

Denby Dale, Slaithwaite and Golcar have WAW status.

Meltham is currently applying for WAW status.

For more about MWAW visit: www.marsdenwalkersarewelcome.


| BEST FOOT FORWARD: Marsden 'Walkers Are Welcome' volunteers Lewis, nine, and Fiona Hodgson, 12, survey the newly laid path near Standedge Tunnel Visitors' Centre (S)
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 5, 2013
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