This is the tenth year the Blackwater Valley Countryside have held Walk the Path – an organised walk along the final 10+ miles of the Blackwater Valley Path from Sandhurst to Swallowfield – and this year it proved bigger and better than ever. A total of 238 people turned up on Sunday 26 April and despite the chilling wind and threat of rain they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The walk was officially started by the Mayor of Sandhurst, Cllr Pauline McKenzie, who set off the first group of around 50 at 9.15am. The remaining walkers were then sent off at 15-minute intervals to avoid congestion along the route and at the refreshment points, with the last group leaving at 11am. This year mile signs and wildlife posters were placed along the route to provide added interest and they proved very popular.
Over 40 volunteers were involved on the day to ensure that the walkers kept safe and on track and judging by the responses at the end all had done their job well. Comments such as “Very well organised”, “Brilliant as always”, “The marshals very friendly and helpful” and “Excellent! Thank you” were typical of the comments made by the walkers when they checked in at the end at Swallowfield.
Event organiser Ken Bigrave from the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust commented: “We had record numbers participating in this event and signed up over 50 new members to the Trust. Talking with many of those who participated they enjoyed themselves, which to me is the most important measurement of success. I would like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible it was a real team effort.”
Over £1,100 was raised by the event and will go to providing benches along the Blackwater the focus of this year’s fundraising efforts. The Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust (BVCT) is a registered charity working for the conservation, protection and improvement of the Blackwater Valley. It aims to enhance the environment for both people and wildlife. Anyone interested in finding out more about the Trust should visit their website http://www.bvct.org.uk/