MOSSLEY can lead the way by becoming the destination for walkers in the area – with hopes a plan can be put together.
Tameside Council is keen to formulate a ‘cultural change’ which would see the town become the centre of activity.
Hikers and ramblers are a common sight around Mossley, particularly those taking on the hills that dominate the landscape.
But Annette Turner of the authority’s population health team believes more can be made of the benefits Mossley offers to a wider range of people, incorporating things like the arts, history or photography.
And a system can be devised to incorporate existing groups.
Talks are expected in the coming weeks to link up the heritage trails set up by Mossley Civic Society and the art trail currently being implemented by Mossley Town Team.
Groups like the Mossley Litterbugs may also be asked to get involved and while other trails also exist, they are not well known – but they may be soon.
Annette told October’s meeting of Mossley Town Council: “If we’re going to get walking going in Mossley, we need to think about partnerships.
“We need to think about it in more of a ‘whole system’ way, partnering with different people, groups or organisations and how we set policy to support walking.
“Think of leisure walking, partners could be Green Space, children’s centres, children’s services, libraries, cultural places, arts groups.
“If people are out walking with a utility, that involves planning and highways. What crossings will be needed? Are the pathways being maintained?
“It could also involve people like Active Tameside who do walks to get people out. Then when you think about heath and wellbeing, it could involve people like the Clinical Commissioning Group or adult social care.
“Dependent on what you want to do in Mossley, you could do one or all of these things.
“When you think about that ‘whole system’ approach, rather than just fund a set of walks, we’re starting to think about trying to get a bit of a cultural change.
“It can be built around an individual and groups they go to, organisations and employers, then making the environment better.
“And Mossley is more active than the Tameside average, so that’s something we can build on and there’s a rich set of community groups.”
Concerns including barbed wire blocking walking routes were raised at the meeting but it was pointed out that Tameside Council green spaces team could clear them.
And Annette added: “When we think about how we enable people to walk, particularly in Mossley, we need to think not just about the motivations but also the barriers.
“We think about those blockages taking place when you’re out in the hills but they can take place in residential areas too.
“When you’re a mother with a pram and it’s bin day, you’re definitely not getting through. If there’s pavement parking, you’re not getting through.
“There are lots of different physical barriers, so if we’re encouraging walking, these are the things we need to think about, along with what motivates us, the reasons why people walk.
“We want to develop a wider walking strategy for Tameside but see this as a test area – if it can work in Mossley, I can see it working in other places.”
Mossley Town Council and the Town Team agreed to work with the population health team with a view to combining walks that exist.
And Annette said: “That’s something we can help with. We can work with other groups that can push out walks to a wider audience.
“Anything that’s an asset, we can certainly promote.”