Who we are
Walkers are Welcome was launched in 2007 as a national movement to raise the profile of great places to walk in Britain, with Hebden Bridge becoming the first town to achieve accreditation. Local accreditation of towns and villages is designed to attract more walkers to the area and to encourage local residents to get to know the wealth of open spaces in and around their community. Benefits of Walkers are Welcome status include health improvements, additional trade for local businesses, encouragement of public transport use, and a raised profile for the area as a tourist destination.
The Burley-in-Wharfedale Walkers are Welcome group was formed by local walking enthusiasts in 2013. With the support of local businesses, 475 residents signed a petition in support of the application for accreditation during August and September. The application was endorsed by Burley Parish Council and Bradford Metropolitan District Council, and membership of the network was approved in March 2014 with Burley joining over a hundred other towns and villages. The group was officially launched on 16 August 2014 as part of the Summer Festival with guest speaker Colin Speakman.
Since 2014 the group has published three walking leaflets, see Published Walks, contributed to the development of the Welcome Way waymarked footpath linking Burley with Baildon, Bingley and Otley along with its associated route guide, and undertaken a number of footpath improvement projects in and around the village. As well as contributing walks to the Summer Festival, the group leads a five mile walk on the 3rd Sunday in the month, and a three mile walk on the first Friday of the month. Both walks start at Burley railway station at 10.00 with no booking required. See the Friends page for more information.
Burley-in-Wharfedale is superbly situated for walking and also for those who prefer to run! Surrounded by fields and meadows and with the River Wharfe passing close to the village centre, the area is rich in wildlife. The village has ancient origins and was mentioned in both the Saxon Chronicles of 972 and the Yorkshire Charters of 1030. There are many interesting buildings within the historic core of the village, designated as a conservation area, and these are described in a History Trail booklet available from the library.
A number of becks and streams draining from the adjacent Burley Moor pass through the village on their way to the River Wharfe, and these along with many ginnels and rights of way are a distinctive feature of our community.
The surrounding countryside is wonderful walking territory, with numerous footpaths accessing Burley and Baildon Moors to the south, Ilkley and Addingham Moors to the West, the Chevin Country Park to the East, and the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the North.
The Sun Lane nature reserve is only one of three Local Nature Reserves within Bradford district and provides a uniquely rich habitat for wildlife adjacent to the village, with over 400 species of plants recorded.
The Burley Summer Festival, held over the last week in August each year, has a busy programme packed full of mostly locally sourced entertainment and activities. Walkers are Welcome have increasingly contributed to the guided walks element since 2014, with three walks undertaken in 2015, six in 2016, eleven in 2017, thirteen in 2018 and seventeen in 2021.
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- Alfred John Brown