AFTER months of hard work, a walking group in Winchcombe has raised £24,000 to improve a riverside footpath.

Winchcombe Walkers are Welcome (WWaW) decided an existing path in the town needed to be improved to allow access for walkers with disabilities, mothers with buggies and wheelchair users.

The group took action after being approached over the last few years by people who wanted to know where they could go for a walk in the countryside.

Work is due to start next month on the path which starts in Broadway Road and extends up to Castle Street while taking in views of the River Isbourne.

The route will be dressed with stone with new gates and footbridges and in places the gradient will be reduced to enable a wider range of walkers to enjoy the riverside setting.

Robert Talbot, WWaW secretary, said: "There have been some setbacks but we have persevered and the many discussions, correspondence and form filling has come to fruition.

"For people unsure on their feet they will have a nice footpath and will be open for mothers will buggies or elderly people who just want to stroll without having to put on a pair of walking shoes, especially in the winter."

The project is being supported by landowners at Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe Town Council, the local medical practice, Friends of Winchcombe and the Disabled Ramblers.

Meanwhile, the fifth Winchcombe Cotswolds Walking Festival was hailed as one of the best yet by organisers.

Walkers enjoyed 22 events over three days from Friday, May 16 to Sunday, May 18 ranging from short walks to 14-mile treks.

Walks included taking in the sights of Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe's history and its links to the Great War along with a guided tour of Huntsmans Quarry.

"It was brilliant," added Mr Talbot. "It was one of the best we've had and we had brilliant weather. "People have said to us they felt the range of walks on offer excellent. There was something there for everyone."