Children can now enjoy fun-filled walks from Burry Port, Llanelli and Pontarddulais stations as part of the Ramble and Scramble project. We’ve teamed up with Heart of Wales Line and Ramblers Cymru to commission three colourful maps for children to follow; these are being distributed to local schools with the aim of encouraging children and their families to get outside during half term. The walks are easy to follow and help the children uncover interesting facts about their local areas, as well as giving them missions such as I-spy challenges. Children are encouraged to take photos on their walks and post them on social media with the hashtag #rambleandscramble.
The Ramble and Scramble project was devised by Ramblers Cymru to encourage children and their families to walk together. Initially piloted in the Southeast Wales Valleys, the colourful resources focus on the adventures of two dragons named Ramble and Scramble. The activities were a hit during lockdown, so South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership decided to team up with the Heart of Wales Line to introduce the project to schools and families in our rail networks.
We commissioned illustrator Arry Cain, who created the Ramble and Scramble characters for Ramblers Cymru, to produce three child-friendly maps centred around Burry Port, Llanelli and Pontarddulais stations (the latter two stations are also covered by Heart of Wales Line). We trialled the walk at Ysgol Parc-y-Tywyn in Burry Port last summer and the kids loved it!
The work has been supported with a £5,000 grant from Great Western Railway. GWR Advisory Board member and President of the Heart of Wales Line Travellers’ Association, Professor Stuart Cole CBE, said: “We are delighted that GWR is making these awards, in particular because the communities along the railway network in South, West and central Wales welcome the active traveller, arriving by train and walking and cycling while in Wales.
“Such travel is sustainable in both environmental and economic senses. It avoids car travel and experiences such as the Heart of Wales Line Trail provide opportunities to link walking and cycling with rail travel. Tourism is a mainstay of the local Carmarthenshire economy and in particular the hospitality sector, whose meals and accommodation are local businesses which need particular support post Covid. Travel to the countryside also contributes to mental health and well-being.”
Now that the leaflets have been printed, South West Wales Connected Community Rail Officer Ashley Morgan has been organising their distribution to local schools in time for half term.
Olie Wicks of Ramblers Cymru said:
“We are delighted to see the rollout of the resources that we helped develop. At Ramblers Cymru, we want to help everyone to access nature and the outdoors. These booklets will help families discover nature and some stunning walks across southwest Wales.
“It’s also great that people can enjoy adventures sustainably, without having to use or have access to a car.”
Zoë Antrobus, managing director of 4theRegion, the community interest company that hosts South West Wales Connected, added:
“The idea is to promote suitable ‘Ramble and Scramble’ routes as short and accessible routes suitable for young families, anyone with buggies or limited mobility, or anyone looking to improve their health by walking short distances of between 0.5 and two miles.
“Walks will include points of interest and short interactive activities to engage young walkers, build confidence in map reading and make walking fun for all ages. Welcome banners at stations will help with youth engagement across our region. It will also raise the profile of Community Rail and help make the stations a brighter more attractive place.”
We will continue to work with Ramblers Cymru to source and publicise the routes and develop links with other visitor attractions – so watch this space for more information!
To get a map, go here: www.southwestwales.co/ramble-scramble
To find out more about Ramblers Cymru, Wales’s leading walking charity visit: www.ramblers.org.uk/wales