Stackpole walking initiative launched

Thursday 25th July 2013 10:00 pm

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The National Trust's Stackpole Estate is leading an initiative designed to get families walking.

The estate was chosen to pilot a project led by Ramblers Cymru which features a series of family rambles.

The initiative, which has progressed to include walks along the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, developed from a conversation between Rebecca Stock, the National Trust's operations manager at Stackpole, and Angela Charlton, director of Ramblers Cymru.

"Angela and I met at the Royal Welsh Show last summer and we talked about how we could get more families out walking. I suggested Stackpole would be the perfect trial location,' Rebecca recalled.

Pupils at two local schools worked closely with Rhian Sula-Watt, senior education officer at Stackpole, to design the activities for the walks. Stackpole VC School and Castle School were also invited to suggest names for four walks. The four winning suggestions were the Stackpole Toddle Waddle, Stackpole Wellie Wander, Stackpole Ramble and Seek and Stackpole Rocky Roam.

Rhian said it was a delight to work with two enthusiatic local schools.

"They came up with some fantastic ideas and suggestions, as well as producing beautiful artwork which was used in the design of the packs,' she said.

As the name suggests, the Stackpole Toddle Waddle targets toddlers. A series of wooden markers created by the Pembrokeshire woodturners and erected in Lodge Park Wood feature wildlife footprints and key facts about each creature.

The Stackpole Wellie Wander encourages children over the age of six to embark on a scavenger hunt through former ancient wooded valleys, while eight-year-olds and older can ramble and seek out wildlife.

For older children, the Stackpole Rocky Roam encourages youngsters to arm themselves with a camera and photograph fossils and cliffs along Barafundle Bay and the Bosherston Lily Pools. There is a even a competition for avid photographers taking part in the rocky roam to submit their photgraphs to the ramblers with a prize of a family coasteering expedition for the chosen winner.

Rebecca Stock, who has trialled the walks with her own young family, said they are targeted at all ages and capabilities.

"Walking should be accessible to everyone, but families with young children can find it difficult. We wanted to take away those barriers," she explained.

"My four-year-old isn't a keen walker, but he was totally enthused. The routes don't feel like walking for children, they feel like adventure.'

The family walking packs are available from National Trust car park information centres and will soon be available to download.

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